China Takes Three of Top Five Global Smartphone Spots for 2016

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epa05180520 People take selfies at the Bandra Fort Band Stand, a famous tourist spot near the Arabian sea, in Mumbai, India, 25 February 2016. According to reports, around 19 people have died taking selfies in India since 2014. Mumbai has now banned selfies in 16 areas due to safety risks. EPA/DIVYAKANT SOLANKI
By April Ma

(Beijing) — Chinese smartphone makers closed the gap on their international rivals last year, with homegrown brands landing three of the top five places globally with strong inroads into developing markets.

China’s Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., Oppo Electronics Corp. and Vivo Communication Technology Co. Ltd. finished third, fourth and fifth respectively in terms of smartphone production in 2016. They trailed longstanding leaders Samsung and Apple Inc., which finished first and second on the list, according to a report published on Wednesday by consulting firm TrendForce.

Based in south China’s Guangdong province, Vivo and Oppo doubled their smartphone output last year to grab 7.2% and 6% of the global market respectively. Huawei was the world’s biggest producer, with a 9.6% market share.

TrendForce’s figures measure production volume, and do not indicate actual sales performance, as some phones may end up as unsold inventory.

Vivo and Oppo released models in 2016 that were well-received by consumers because of their sleek surface designs and fast-charging capability, said Avril Wu, an analyst at TrendForce.

Vivo and Oppo were both newcomers to the top five, ousting Chinese rival Lenovo Group Ltd. and South Korea’s LG Electronics Inc. from their fourth and fifth positions respectively in 2015. Huawei’s No. 3 position remained unchanged from 2015 to last year.

Oppo and Vivo are thriving off booming sales in their home market, the world’s largest for smartphones, posting respective growth of more than 130% and 81% in last year’s third quarter. Most of last year’s increased production came from rising demand within China, Wu said.

The pair also had a strong fourth quarter in India, one of the world’s fastest growing markets. Oppo, which plans to open a 1.5 billion yuan ($218 million) production base in India, saw sales surge by more than a factor of 15 from a year ago, while Vivo has expanded over six times, according to a report from Counterpoint Research.

As is reported earlier, Chinese smartphone vendors have taken four of the top five places in India sales, using competitive prices and successful branding strategies to expand rapidly in a market that is now the world’s third-largest and which has big growth potential.

Chinese brands accounted for nearly half of the 28 million smartphones shipped in India in the final quarter last year, tripling their share from a year earlier, according to new data from two market research firms.

Four Chinese companies — Xiaomi Inc., Oppo Electronics Corp., Lenovo Group Ltd. and Vivo Communication Technology Co. Ltd. — each took about 10% of the Indian market during the quarter, according to the latest data from Canalys and Counterpoint Research. Traditional leader Samsung led the market with a little over 20% share.

Caixin

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