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SHANGHAI: China's Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, once the world's biggest smartphone maker, saw its phone shipments to retailers and other sellers within China plunge by half in the first quarter, as US sanctions on its supply chain crimped expansion even as the overall smartphone market rebounded.

The company shipped a total of 14.9 million handsets within China in the quarter ending in March, down from 30.1 million in the same period last year, according to research firm Canalys.

Its market share also dropped to 16% from 41% a year ago, becoming the third largest after fellow Chinese brands Vivo and Oppo.

Vivo and Oppo saw their shipments grow 79% and 65% respectively, as they gained market share from Huawei. Vivo shipped 21.6 million units in the first quarter, while Oppo shipped 20.6 million.

Huawei was put on a blacklist by former US President Donald Trump in 2019 that barred the company from importing critical technology of US origin, affecting its ability to design its own chips and source components from outside vendors.

The ban put Huawei's once lucrative handset business under immense pressure, prompting the sale of its Honor budget smartphone unit to a group of agents and dealers in November.

Huawei said on Wednesday its first-quarter revenue fell 16.5%, hurt by a dip in smartphone sales.

China's overall market for smartphones has rebounded back to pre-pandemic levels, with overall shipments increasing 24% from the first quarter a year ago, when the pandemic was peaking in the country.

Xiaomi Corp also grew shipments 75% to 13.5 million units, while Apple Inc increased by 49% to 12 million units thanks to strong demand for the iPhone 12 series, the company's first 5G handset.