We’ve been hearing for a good few years now about the global ambitions of several China-based smartphone manufacturers, but while Huawei’s European sales numbers are definitely thriving, America isn’t exactly looking like the land of opportunity for any Asian up-and-comers.

As always, industry veterans and marketing juggernauts Apple and Samsung disputed the US mobile crown of Q2 2017, with LG an increasingly distant second runner-up, as the G6 surprisingly fell flat.

Wait a minute, ZTE hails from the world’s largest smartphone market, and according to the latest Counterpoint research, it managed to sit in fourth place stateside between April and June of this year, significantly closing the gap to the third spot.

Not only that, but the Axon 7 makers were apparently responsible for driving “most” of the local smartphone shipment growth during the quarter. We’re talking an overall year-on-year surge of 14 percent, and ZTE’s own numbers jumped a remarkable 36 percent compared to Q2 2016.

Believe it or not, the high-end Axon 7 had very little to do with its OEM’s spectacular progress. Instead, the largely budget-focused brand ruled sales charts outside of the “big four” carriers thanks primarily to devices like the gargantuan Max XL or even the Cymbal flip feature phone.

Ironically, ZTE is nowhere near as successful domestically, falling out of the top five a while ago. In the US, it could well overtake LG this very next quarter, especially if the V30 flops like a G6.

For the time being, it’s actually mid-range K-series handsets that are keeping the chaebol on the podium, with TCL-Alcatel named Q2’s fifth most popular smartphone vendor stateside.

As far as wireless service providers go, T-Mobile again dominated postpaid phone adds, though all in all, Verizon (barely) edged out the “Un-carrier” in terms of direct smartphone shipments.

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