Chinese tech major Huawei said it wants to become the world's second-largest smartphone manufacturer over the next two year, replacing iPhone maker Apple. Currently Huawei is the third-biggest smartphone vendor after Apple and world leader Samsung.

Richard Yu, Huawei's chief executive for consumer business group revealed the company's latest goal at a launch event on 3 November 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," said Yu.

"We are going to take them [Apple] step-by-step, innovation-by-innovation," he noted and adding that the company expected to improve Huawei's position along with technology shifts.

According to the latest research by Strategy Analytics, Huawei was at the third place in the list of global smartphone vendor shipments in the third quarter of 2016, selling 33.6 million smartphones.

Woody Oh, director at Strategy Analytics said in a statement: "Huawei maintained third position with 9% global smartphone marketshare in Q3 2016, up from 8% a year ago. Huawei's smartphone growth rate has more than halved, to 26% annually in Q3 2016, compared with 62% annual growth in Q3 2015. Huawei is facing intense competition from OPPO, Vivo and other emerging Chinese rivals such as fast-growing LeEco."

Samsung retained the top position and sold 75.3 million smartphones during the same period, followed by Apple, which sold 45.5 million units.

"There will be more opportunities. Artificial intelligence, virtual reality, augmented reality. It is like driving a car. At every curve or turn, there is an opportunity to overtake the competition," Yu stressed.

At its global launch event, the company unveiled two premium Mate series handsets – Huawei Mate 9 and its Porsche Design variant. Both use custom Kirin 960 mobile processors for fast computing performance, SuperCharge technology and a new UX. The Mate 9 costs €699 (£621), while the Porsche Design model at €1395.

With the new Mate 9 handset, Yu hopes to break into European markets such as Germany, France and UK. "In Finland, we are already number one," he said, "Step-by-step we are winning the trust and loyalty of the customers. It is about trust and loyalty."