Strong performances from Chinese brands with Huawei, OPPO and Vivo edging closer to leader Samsung and second-place Apple.
Huawei’s heavy investments on R&D, particularly within its chip subsidiary HiSilicon, continue to pay off dividends in terms of obtaining in-house application processors and the accumulation of IPs.
The Chinese brands therefore have the strength to expand into overseas markets with products of comparable qualities to those from its international competitors. At the same time, it is able to avoid legal challenges to its technology patents.
Huawei currently uses in-house, Kirin-series application processors for all its high-end devices and continues to work with Qualcomm and MediaTek in the mid-range and low-end device segments.
Huawei also has developed good relationships with major telecom companies worldwide. After surpassing the 100 million mark in 2015, Huawei’s production volume increased by 21.3% annually in 2016 to reach 131 million units, giving the brand a secured third-place spot in the ranking.
OPPO and Vivo are two Chinese smartphone brands that burst into the market in 2016 with successful sales strategies and higher product specifications. Added together, OPPO and Vivo’s production volume for last year amounted to 180 million units. Furthermore, OPPO and Vivo respectively displaced Lenovo and Xiaomi to take the fourth and fifth place in the worldwide ranking.
The return of Nokia-branded products in the smartphone market is going to be one of the highly anticipated events in the early 2017. Last May, Foxconn’s subsidiary FIH Mobile acquired the Nokia brand and its mobile phone business from Microsoft and at the same time entered a brand licensing and patent agreement with HMD Global Oy (HMD). Supported by Foxconn’s vast resources, Nokia is expected to release a new device at the start of this year, generating new buzz in the market.