Friday, April 22, 2016

1Q 2016: CHINA smartphone market: Huawei remains top brand.

Huawei remains the top brand in China and is steadily catching up to Apple in the global competition.

Huawei’s first-quarter shipments came in at 27 million units, or a drop of around 20% compared with the prior quarter. Nonetheless, the Chinese smartphone maker retained its rankings as the top brand in China and the third-largest vendor worldwide. 

Huawei currently is ahead of its domestic competitors in terms of scale, technology, and supply chain integration. The Kirin processors manufactured by Huawei’s semiconductor subsidiary HiSilicon are on par with high-end chips from Qualcomm and MediaTek. 

Additionally, Huawei faces the least amount of resistance than other Chinese brands do when it comes to shipping to the overseas markets.

“Huawei won’t be able to overtake Apple and become the No. 2 smartphone brand worldwide any time soon,” said Wu. “Still, the market share gap between Huawei and Apple are expected to narrow with each passing year.”

Lenovo smartphone shipments reached 17 million units in the first quarter, translating to a small quarterly decline of 5.6%. Lenovo will be focusing on foreign markets this year and have assigned 80% of its total shipments for exports. 

By the end of year, Lenovo’s respective market shares in India and Indonesia may surpass 10%. However, the brand’s global market share is expected to contract because of insufficient product differentiation. Lenovo’s flagship devices also lack attractive features that can capture consumers’ interests.

Xiaomi shipped about 16 million units of smartphones in the first quarter and is now in close competition with Lenovo for the No.2 spot in China. Wu said Xiaomi has been more capable of creating market buzz for its products by making significant hardware upgrades. 

Xiaomi’s latest premium smartphone, Mi 5, offers the top-of-line Snapdragon 820 processor, the highest density of LPDDR4 at 4GB and the largest storage available at 128GB. 

Xiaomi is also committed to make its smartphones into powerful platforms for the Internet of Things and has built an ecosystem of connected products. TrendForce expects marginal shipment growth from Xiaomi this year, but the Chinese vendors will see increasing profits coming from the sales of peripheral products related to its smartphones.

OPPO and Vivo together will represent almost 20% of Chinese branded smartphone shipments for 2016. Vivo has shown that it is willing to bring out the best hardware with Xplay 5, which features a dual-curve screen and is the first smartphone to carry 6GB of memory. Besides maintaining channel networks in China’s second and third-tier cities, Vivo is also actively building up its overseas presence. Currently, 10% of Vivo’s total shipments goes to foreign markets.

OPPO’s strategy is about improving smartphone’s overall functionality, such as having an excellent camera and a fast-charging battery. On other hand, OPPO tends to use mid-range application processors for their mobile devices and rely on system optimization to create better user experience. OPPO is among the few Chinese brands to expand abroad early on, and the brand has strong sales records in Southeast Asia and India.

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