SEOUL Samsung Electronics Co Ltd sold a record 86 million smartphones in the fourth quarter and widened its lead over Apple Inc even after the U.S. firm reached a new iPhone sales high, data from research firm Strategy Analytics showed.
Samsung took 29.6 percent of the global smartphone market in the fourth quarter, ahead of Apple's 17.6 percent, as strong low-end market growth led by Chinese vendors continued to shake up the smartphone industry, the data showed.
Apple sold a record 51 million iPhones in the year-end quarter although its market share slipped from the previous year's 22 percent, as Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and Lenovo Group Ltd rose to become the world's No.3 and No.4 respectively.
Huawei sold 16.6 million smartphones and Lenovo sold 13.6 million, each taking 5.7 percent and 4.7 percent of the market.
"There is clearly now more competition coming from the second-tier smartphone brands. Huawei, LG Electronics and Lenovo each grew their smartphone shipments around two times faster than the global industry average," Strategy Analytics analyst Linda Sui said.
"Samsung and Apple will need to fight hard to hold off these and other hungry challengers during 2014."
For the entire 2013, global smartphone shipments grew 41 percent to reach a record 990 million. Samsung sold 319.8 million units to take 32.2 percent, up from 30.4 percent in 2012.
Apple sold 153.5 million iPhones with a 15.5 percent market share.
(Reporting by Miyoung Kim; Editing by Stephen Coates)