Chinese smartphones increase share

8 August 2013
SHANGHAI: Chinese manufacturers are taking a 20% share of global branded smartphone sales, according to new analysis of second-quarter shipments.

Research group Canalys found that Chinese brands Yulong, Lenovo, Huawei, ZTE and Xiaomi increased their global market share from 15% a year ago, due in part to burgeoning emerging market demand. Total shipments grew 108% to 88.1m in China and 129% to 9m in India.

Furthermore, Yulong and Lenovo have now displaced Nokia and Blackberry to enter the top five global brands by number of shipments.

While Samsung and Apple continued to dominate the market, with shipments of 75.6m and 31.2m respectively over the three-month period, both have lost market share to Chinese vendors.

Samsung recorded year-on-year growth of 55%, and Apple sales rose 20%, but Lenovo grew 131% and Yulong 216%. Indeed, Apple's market share fell to its lowest level since the first quarter of 2009.

Chris Jones, principal analyst at Canalys, advised Apple that there is real demand for a new low-cost iPhone. "The high end of the market continues to grow, but there is no doubt that explosive growth will come from the low end of the market," he said.

Brands like Lenovo have benefited from demand for cheaper smartphones – 95% of Lenovo's sales were in China – but Canalys research director Nicole Peng added a note of caution.

"China Mobile's strategy of continuously pushing smartphones to the mass market benefits local vendors, in particular Lenovo and Yulong," Peng said. "The critical task for these vendors now though is to reduce their reliance on their home market and grow businesses internationally."

The report also found that China has become by far the largest smartphone market in terms of sales, with the US ranked second and India third.

Canalys analyst Jessica Kwee attributed the recent success of Indian brands Micromax and Karbonn to the popularity of their feature phones and their quick response to local market demands.

She also said India was a market in transition as it moves from feature phones to smartphones. "It is a market that offers huge potential as hundreds of millions of users have yet to upgrade their feature phones," Kwee added.

Data sourced from Financial Times, Canalys; additional content by Warc staff
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