Company chief executive Richard Yu told attendees at the Mate 9 launch event in Munich: "When we announced four years ago that we wanted to sell phones, people told us we were crazy. When we said we wanted to sell 100 million phones, they told us we were crazy."
Today the company is the third-largest smartphone maker right behind Apple and Samsung, and shipped 33.6 million devices in the third quarter of 2016. This gives it a nine percent market share, according to research firm Strategy Analytics.
Samsung is still the world leader in smartphone shipments at 75.3 million devices shipped and 20.1 percent of the market, while Apple has shunted out 45.5 million devices with 12 percent.
"We are going to take [Apple] step-by-step, innovation-by-innovation," Yu said. He expects to improve Huawei’s market position by embracing more opportunities in artificial intelligence, virtual reality and augmented reality.”
With the recently launched Mate 9 smartphone, the company expects to turn a profit in European markets such as Germany, France and Britain - it's already in first place in Finland.
The shift in confidence comes from observations that Apple has struggled to produce anything new with its iPhone hardware, and Samsung has dealt with PR headaches and customer complaints arising from a rare double recall of its Galaxy Note 7 smartphone series. Samsung also recalled a washing machine yesterday, but that's a different matter.