Oppo and Vivo vault ahead in China’s smartphone market

The two brands overtake Huawei, Xiaomi, Apple and other Chinese Android mobile phone brands

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 25 October, 2016, 7:44pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 25 October, 2016, 11:10pm

Oppo Electronics has overtaken Huawei Technologies, the world’s largest telecommunications equipment supplier, to become the leading smartphone brand in mainland China in the quarter to September.

Data released on Tuesday by market research firm Counterpoint Technology showed that Oppo cornered a 16.6 per cent share of total smartphone shipments on the mainland in the third quarter, up from 9.9 per cent in the same period last year.

Vivo was close behind with a 16.2 per cent share, compared with 8.2 per cent previously.

Both Oppo and Vivo are subsidiaries of privately held BBK Electronics Corp, which is headquartered in the city of Dongguan in Guangdong province. BBK also owns another Chinese smartphone brand, OnePlus.

“Shipments for Oppo’s smartphones grew 82 per cent year on year while Vivo recorded the highest growth in China during the quarter as demand rose 114 per cent,” Counterpoint research director James Yan said in a report.

He said Oppo and Vivo now controlled almost one-third of mainland China’s total smartphone market, which is the biggest worldwide and is largely made up of Android device users.

Counterpoint estimated that total smartphone shipments on the mainland crossed 120 million units in the third quarter.

Shenzhen-based Huawei had a 15 per cent share of the market in the quarter, virtually unchanged from a year ago, according to Counterpoint data.

Technology start-up Xiaomi continued to see its share of the domestic smartphone market shrink. It took a 10.6 per cent share in the quarter, down from 14.6 per cent, as shipments decreased 22 per cent.

Apple seized an 8.4 per cent share, compared with 12.4 per cent a year earlier.

Samsung Electronics, LeEco, Meizu, as well as Hong Kong-listed Coolpad Group and ZTE Corp rounded out the rest of the mainland’s top 10 smartphone suppliers in the past quarter.

Yan said Oppo’s flagship R9 smartphone became the top-selling model in China for the quarter while its low-end A59 and A37 models also generated strong sales across the so-called third- and fourth-tier cities.

Vivo’s flagship X7-series smartphone saw healthy sales through aggressive outdoor promotions, sponsorship deals with the likes of the National Basketball Association, celebrity endorsements and broad social media marketing.

Zhang Mengmeng, a senior analyst at Counterpoint, said Huawei saw modest 4 per cent growth in the third quarter.

Counterpoint research director Neil Shah said Xiaomi “had been relegated to a player with the bulk of smartphones sold in the sub-US$200 segment”. However, it launched a new higher-priced model on Tuesday.

On Apple, Shah said rising demand for its iPhone 7 models should help the company regain some lost market share on the mainland.