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Huawei topples OPPO to become #1 smartphone vendor in China

09 May 2017

International Data Corporation’s (IDC) latest study has revealed a big change in the China smartphone market.

104.1 million smartphones were shipped to China in the first quarter of 2017. While this represents a mere one percent year-on-year growth, there were changes within the shipments.

There were a few product launches throughout the quarter, like Huawei’s new P10, P10 Plus and Honor V9. This, along with strong momentum for the Honor brand, helped Huawei reclaim the top position from OPPO.

Senior market analyst with IDC Asia/Pacific's Client Devices team, Tay Xiaohan says IDC expects growth to surge later in the year.

“Despite a soft first quarter in China, the second quarter should pick up sequentially given not only JD.com’s June promotions, but also activity around a number of new products like vivo with its Y53, Xiaomi with its Mi 6, Meizu with its E2, and Gionee with its M6S Plus,” says Xiaohan.

"Apple has been seeing double-digit YoY declines for the fifth quarter in a row, but we believe that Chinese consumers are holding out for the launch of Apple's 10-year anniversary iPhone at the end of the year, and this will help Apple to see a rebound in the China smartphone market.”

Some of the key highlights of the first quarter and what IDC expects to happen in the coming year include:

  • The top five smartphone vendors now dominate 70 percent of the market, and IDC expects their share to continue to rise, along with more consolidation among the smaller companies - no new smartphone companies are expected to enter the market and make any significant difference.
  • Android ASPs continued to increase in the first quarter and year-over-year, with consumers seeking to purchase key flagship models from the top vendors Huawei, OPPO and vivo.
  • Huawei’s Honor 8, OPPO’s R9s and vivo’s X9 we the popular models from these companies in the quarter, all boasting powerful cameras and large batteries.
  • Smartphone companies are expected to be focusing more on their offline retail expansion, with more stores from each major vendor opening across China.

"Having one star flagship model that is marketed successfully is sufficient to significantly propel a company's shipments in the right direction. This can be aptly exemplified in OPPO's key flagship R9s which comprised close to half of its overall shipments,” Xiaohan says.

“In light of the foregoing, whilst the Chinese companies can continue to innovate and try to outshine one another in the coming year, they can also consider focusing their resources on one or two key models with clear key messages than to stretch themselves thin and try to diversify their portfolio.”

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