By Yimou Lee
HONG KONG (Reuters) - China's Huawei Technologies Co Ltd [HWT.UL], the world's third-largest smartphone vendor, said first-half global smartphone shipments jumped 25 percent, helped by rapid growth in traditionally high-end markets such as Europe.
Shenzhen-based Huawei, which competes with Samsung Electronics Co Ltd <005930.KS> and Apple Inc <AAPL.O>, shipped 60.5 million smartphones globally in the first half.
Huawei's consumer business group, which includes its smartphone division, booked global revenue of 77.4 billion yuan($11.6 billion) for the first six months, up 41 percent from last year.
Huawei aims to surpass market leaders Samsung and Apple within five years to become the world's top smartphone vendor.
Industry watchers, however, are less optimistic. They said Huawei is facing stiffer competition from domestic rivals such as Xiaomi Inc [XTC.UL] and Lenovo Group Ltd <0992.HK> as cost-conscious consumers are looking for alternatives with similar features in an increasingly saturated global market.
Huawei's head of consumer business Richard Yu was, however, bullish about the firm's long-term prospects.
"There are only three major smartphone vendors in the world - Apple, Samsung and Huawei. It's consolidating... other vendors will die in the next three to five years," he told a news conference.
Research firm TrendForce last week cut its estimate for Huawei's annual smartphone shipments by 8.5 percent to 119 million units, citing worse-than-expected sales of Huawei's flagship phone.
"The sales of Huawei's flagship P9, which features a dual camera, may fall short of expectations as other Chinese brands release competitive products," said TrendForce analyst Avril Wu.
Huawei held 9 percent of the global smartphone market in the second quarter of this year, a distant third behind Samsung's 24.5 percent and Apple's 15 percent, according to TrendForce.
(Reporting by Yimou Lee; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)