Chinese technology giant Huawei has exceeded its target of shipping 100 million smartphones for calendar 2015, managing to ship 108 million smartphones in total and achieving revenue of more than $20 billion.
Announcing its results for calendar 2015 at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas on Tuesday, Huawei said its revenue saw an increase of almost 70 percent over 2014, with smartphone shipments up 44 percent from the previous year.
Huawei holds the most market share in China, and also ranks in the top three for the high-end smartphone sector in Spain, Italy, Belgium, Portugal, Switzerland, and other Western European countries.
According to Huawei, it also increased its brand awareness substantially in Europe throughout 2015 -- by 68 percent in Germany, 73 percent in the Netherlands, 82 percent in Italy, 79 percent in Spain, and 87 percent in Portugal.
Huawei attributed its high-performing results to continued investment in innovation as well as research and development, having invested 14.2 percent of its 2014 revenue in R&D while securing 76,687 patents.
Huawei has more than 76,000 employees focused on R&D, 16 R&D centres worldwide -- including a AU$30 million National Training and Innovation Centre in Sydney, as well as centres in China, Germany, Sweden, Russia, and India -- and R&D investment amounting to approximately 190 billion RMB ($29 billion) over the last 10 years.
The company also announced plans to invest an extra $600 million into 5G technology research and development so it can launch its 5G network by 2020, which will be 100 times faster than speeds reached on 4G.
Huawei was forecast in July to ship 100 million smartphones by the end of 2015, in October announcing that it had shipped 27.4 million smartphones for the three months to September 30, a jump of 63 percent year on year.
"This quarter's results clearly showcase the continued success of our growth strategy," Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer, said at the time.
"We are especially proud of the stellar growth we've seen outside of China and the increased demand for our mid- to high-end devices. At this rate, we are confident in our ability to reach our smartphone shipment target of 100 million units by year's end."
By comparison, Huawei rival Xiaomi shipped only 18.5 million smartphones over the same quarter -- 8.9 million fewer than Huawei. Xiaomi had targeted shipping 80 million smartphones worldwide for 2015, but shipped only 53.2 million handsets for the year as of September.
Xiaomi is "under tremendous pressure to keep growth as an international player as it is slowing down in its key home market", according to research firm Canalys.
In November, Huawei announced that the next generation of the smartphone would be the "superphone", which will further integrate the physical with the digital world.
According to Shao Yang, president of Strategy Marketing at Huawei Consumer Business Group, the smartphone-to-superphone evolution will take place within a 12-year cycle similar to the one that saw Motorola invent the first feature phone in 1995 and Apple end that cycle by inventing the iPhone in 2007. Following this established 12-year trend, the superphone will be developed by 2020.
"Inspired by the biological evolution, the mobile phone we currently know will come to life as the superphone," Shao said.
"The intelligence of the superphone will continue to evolve and develop itself into digital intelligence, capable of empowering us with interactions with the world. Through evolution and adaptation, the superphone will be more intelligent, enhancing and even transforming our perceptions, enabling humans to go further than ever before."
The Chinese company said the superphone will take advantage of advancements in big data, cloud computing, and digital intelligence by tying in with the Internet of Things (IoT), where all physical things are digitalised.
Last year, Huawei shipped 138 million devices, including 75 million smartphones, a 7.8 percent increase over its 2013 results.
Huawei also used CES 2016 to launch its 6-inch Mate 8 smartphone, touting its increased power and battery life, as well as the improved camera, as selling points.
The Mate 8 runs on the Kirin 950 chipset, boosting its CPU power by 100 percent, GPU power by 125 percent, and power efficiency by 70 percent in comparison to the preceding Kirin 925 chipset.
It also features 4x A72 2.3GHz processors and 4x A53 1.8GHz processors; Huawei's EMUI 4.0; a 4000mAh high-density battery lending itself to between 1.65 and 2.36 days of usage; rapid charging within 30 minutes; six-layer thermal mechanics; Android Marshmallow 6.0; a split-screen mode for multitasking; real-time encryption of full storage; a microSD card lock; three microphones; and a Sony 16MP IMX298 rear-facing camera and 8MP front camera.
The smartphone will be made available in 30 countries to begin with, including Germany, France, Australia, Spain, and Mexico at a cost of €599 ($645) for the 32GB model and €699 ($752) for the 64GB version. It comes in moonlight silver, champagne gold, space grey, and mocha brown variants.