In November 2017, OnePlus released its flagship model 5T in US, drawing market’s attention back to affordable and high-tech smartphones once again. In October, Huawei kicked off a conference event in Munich with its newer model Mate 10, a quick response to iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. Many Chinese brands are ambitious enough to churn out their own models, splashing a wave of purchase worldwide.
According to Gartner, a Stamford-based research firm, three Chinese brands Huawei, Oppo and Xiaomi made the Top5 list in Q3 2017, trailing Apple and Samsung. The data collected from Catalys, a global technology market analysis company revealed that in Q1 2017, with a dramatic decline in Apple’s market share in China, Chinese brands grabbed a staggering 87% of market share. As iPhone sales start to pick up, and iPhone X series are launched, Chinese brands may like to trim down their expectation to 57.1%.
The “Made in China” brand now means a lot. Gone is the inferior quality, instead, they venture into high-tech arena, dedicating to delivering higher-end phones and trying hard to cater to customers’ habits. The result is redefining “Made in China” as “Intelligent Manufacturing in China”. Changes are seen everywhere, and the world witness Chinese smartphones sweep the market with an overwhelming force.
CNN says, “Chinese smartphones look great, and are priced affordably. ” According to Livemint, an Indian website, “Chinese phones are highly cost-effective, and deliver better user experience. They are quicker to adopt 4G technologies and get a step closer to customers.”
The year 2017 witnesses a booming smartphone market, with sales hitting 383 million units. The smartphone market continues to grow in single digit, and brands are experimenting with some new ideas, including bezel-less screen, alternative aspect ratio, and striving hard to give their flagship a unique look. Samsung’s Galaxy S8 Note, OnePlus 5T, and Huawei Mate 10 are some to name a few. Huawei Mate Pro even goes a step further, featuring interactive translation. We can expect such changes will extend to lower-price phones soon.
However, Chinese smartphone manufacturers will certainly have a head-on battle with smartphone giants, such as Apple and Samsung and other market players in both domestic and overseas markets.
The market is saturated with homogenized phones from various vendors. Followers are repeating the old story. It seems that each brand has its own strength and weakness.
Huawei, leveraging its robust R&D capability and solid channel partnerships, demonstrates its stable position in the premium market and a strong presence in affordable sectors. However, Huawei fails to gain success in America and India as it does in China and Europe.
Oppo and Xiaomi also manifest substantial growth inside and outside of China. They grab an impressive 22.3% and 8.5% of market share in India. However, their shortcomings are obvious. Their lack of patents proves a hurdle along their road to high-end European and American markets. One Plus, though it collects high accolade overseas, it is completely absent in the below-the-line activities with limited physical presence.
The recent years see many Chinese smartphone brands grow into major market players, but how to hold on to and expand territory is a big headache. The answer to their problems is yet to be discovered in the days to come.