The embattled Chinese phone-maker shipped 55.8 million devices, down 5% year on year, compared to Samsung's 53.7 million smartphones -- a 30% fall drop, according to Canalys' research.
Much of the growth comes from mainland China, where it made 70% of its sales. Its overseas shipments fell 27% in the quarter, partially due to US government restrictions, the analyst noted.
"If it wasn't for COVID-19, it wouldn't have happened. Huawei has taken full advantage of the Chinese economic recovery to reignite its smartphone business," Ben Stanton, a Canalys senior analyst, said in a press release. "Samsung has a very small presence in China, with less than 1% market share, and has seen its core markets, such as Brazil, India, the United States and Europe, ravaged by outbreaks and subsequent lockdowns."
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In a statement, Huawei touted its "exceptional resilience" during the coronavirus pandemic.
"Amidst a period of unprecedented global economic slowdown and challenges, we've continued to grow and further our leadership position by providing innovative products and experience to consumers," a spokesperson said.