Huawei now has a 24.3 percent market share in China and may soon become the dominant player in a market where iOS devices made up for about 25 percent of urban sales.

In the latest data on smartphone sales from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, Apple's market share continued to grow in urban China although the growth rate is seen as the slowest that the company had since late 2014.

"Looking at the three months individually, January was the weakest month for Apple in China as more price-sensitive consumers might have been waiting to see what promotions Chinese New Year would bring in early February," says Carolina Milanesi, research chief at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.

In February, we reported that Huawei, along with other Chinese smartphone makers that include Xiaomi and Lenovo, continue to make up the bigger proportion of the smartphone pie. Huawei ended the final quarter of 2015 with a 15.2 percent market share, which placed the company at the top, beating both Xiaomi (14.8 percent) and Apple (13.1 percent).

Rounding up the top five are two other OEMs from China that include Vivo and Oppo, which had 10 percent and 9.2 percent of the market shares respectively.

Huawei is also making waves in the EU5, where it continues to be the second strongest brand as far as the Android ecosystem is concerned. From a 5 percent market share in 2014, the number almost tripled and reached 14 percent during the same three-month period that ended in January 2016.

"In Great Britain and France, Huawei doubled its share over the past year, and climbed to number four in the brand ranking, while remaining number two in Italy, Spain and Germany," said Dominic Sunnebo, business unit director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech Europe.

EU5 is made up of the big five markets in Europe that include Great Britain, France, Italy, Spain and Germany.

Apple devices that include the iPhone 6, iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus are so far the best-selling handsets in urban China. While iOS share continued to increase year-over-year, the growth pace seemed to have become slower in the region.

It remains to be seen just how much longer will Apple hold its top spot if Huawei continues the momentum in the race. With the gap being at less than one percentage point, Huawei could win the race in no time.

Photo: Kārlis Dambrāns I Flickr

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