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Smart Phones and the Chinese Marketplace

Smart Phones and the Chinese Marketplace
by Daniel Payne on 02-10-2016 at 6:00 am

My first mobile phone was from Motorola and it was fondly called the “brick phone” because of its crude shape. That phone helped me be more efficient while living and working in Silicon Valley, because long commute times in the car were common. At one time Motorola was the best-selling mobile phone brand in the world, then Nokia had their turn in the lead, while today we see Samsung as the number one mobile phone provider.

Looking at the largest sized market for consumer electronics we see China with a population of 1.376 billion, so a natural question is, “Who are the leading mobile phone companies in China?” According to analysis from Canalys and Counterpoint Research here are the market standings for smartphones in China:


  • Xiaomi, 15.9%
  • Huawei, 15.7%
  • Apple, 12.2%
  • Vivo, 9.1%
  • Oppo
  • Samsung

    Source: Tech Crunch

    I’m using a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 phone and love the 5.7″ display, stylus, build and features. Here in the USA we don’t hear much about the Xiaomi and Huawei brands, but just wait for their marketing campaigns to arrive. Samsung used to be the number one smartphone supplier in China, but for now four of the top five suppliers in China are all local Chinese companies. Many of these Chinese smartphones are considered to be in the low to mid-range price ranges, while Samsung is mostly selling high-priced smartphones like the Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 devices.

    So Samsung has fallen from favor in the Chinese market from number one in 2014 all the way down to number six in 2015, yet continues it’s worldwide leadership in spite of increased global competition.

    Both Huawei and Xiaomi are rising stars in China because their smartphone products are quite compelling:

    • Xiaomi Mi 4c – 5 inch display with 1080p, Snapdragon 808 CPU, 13MP camera, about $200
    • Huawei Nexus 6P – 5.7 inch display at 1440×2560 pixels, Snapdraon 810 CPU, 12MP camera, about $350

    Xiaomi 4c

    ​Huawei Nexus 6P

    My local BestBuy store sells the Huawei Nexus 6P smartphone, but not any of the Xiaomi products so it appears that Huawei is a bit further ahead at creating their USA marketing than Xiaomi.

    In China we see now that about half of their best-selling smartphones are supplied by Chinese companies, while Samsung has fallen out of the top 5 position into number 6. Apple is still at a respectable number 3 position with their high-end smarthphone, the iPhone 6S. Lenovo from China now owns the Motorola brand, so in 2016 we may see Lenovo grow into the top 5 position. American distribution of Chinese smartphones is still quite small, but I expect that to change soon.

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