Smartphone manufacturers shipped 990 million units worldwide in 2013, up 41 percent from the 700 million smartphones shipped in 2012.(Image: AP)

Strategy Analytics most recent numbers showed Huawei, Lenovo and LG all growing rapidly and combining for 14 percent of the global market.

Samsung clung to the top spot, shipping 319.8 million smartphones in 2013, good enough for 32 percent of the market. Apple stayed in second, shipping 153.4 million smartphones and grabbing 15 percent of the market. But Apple’s annual growth rate of 13 percent may have cost it, as the company’s global smartphone market share is down from 19 percent in 2012.

Despite the huge numbers, Strategy Analytics’ report points out that global smartphone shipment growth decreased from 43 percent in 2012 to 41 percent in 2013. The slight slowdown is attributed to high penetration in some major markets like the United States.

With saturation points nearing in some mature markets, the importance of tapping into growth in markets like China is magnified.

China’s demand for 4G-capable smartphones is about to explode, according to new numbers from IHS. 4G smartphone shipments to China are due to increase 1,500 percent this year to 144.1 million up from 4.6 million in 2013. IHS expects that demand to keep rising, hitting nearly 300 million by 2017.