China’s biggest smartphone brand is not Xiaomi or Huawei..

(Apple) Click05-aapl-110316-company iPhone 7 launch. Japan 2016

The big players you have never heard of

You probably never heard of OPPO or VIVO, but they are big players in China’s and the global smartphone business. You maybe heard about Apple and Xiaomi and you think they are the biggest ones, but they lost alot of market share and have a negativ growth. I personally thought that Huawei is the number one leading manufacturer in china, but also I was surprised when I had a look at the latest IDC report.

China’s top phone brand last year was actually Oppo, according to data this week from IDC. They aggressively push mid-range smartphones into China’s smaller and poorer cities, where people upgraded from budget smartphones. This boosted OPPO alot, but also Huawei and Vivo did this smart move. Here is the Data from 2015 and 2016, so quickly have a look at the Year-Over-Year Growth and be surprised.

China smartphone market 2016

Apple and Xiaomi lose marketshare

According to the latest IDC report, the Chinese smartphone market went through 3 phases. The first phase was before 2014, where Smartphones sales were driven mainly by operators. Samsung, Lenovo, and Coolpad led the smartphone market then with the help of huge subsidies offered by operators.

The second phase was from 2014-2105, where e-commerce boomed in China. Especially Xiaomi pushed the e-commerce business and sold its phones online through its flash sales. Many companies and retailers followed this trend and sold the smartphones through their own websites.

The third phase began in 2016, where the share of phones sold online has started to stabilize. The big companies like OPPO and VIVO growed alot due to their great strengths in the offline channels.

Xiaomi did take a huge hit in 2016, the amount of smartphones sold online decreased alot. While Xiaomi has managed to stay in China’s top five, it took a severe kicking, losing more market share than any other leading brand. The same for apple, but their loss of market share was not that high like Xiaomi.

2017 brings new trends

Many vendors start now to push out smartphones with dual cameras, curved screens or other “innovative” features. Especially Honor did it right with the Honor 6X, a affordable smartphone with  dual camera. According to the latest IDC report, “Cameras will continue to be a key focus in the marketing messages by vendors especially given the strong selfie culture in China, as exemplified by the popularity of apps such as Meitu.” There is alot of competition going on right now in china. China’s smartphone manufacturers will come along with many innovative features in 2017, aswell with augmented reality.