As China slides, smartphone giants seek ways to revive growth

Written by Staff Writer Sometimes, nothing but a peek inside the smartphone empire of Apple, HTC and Samsung seem to be able to reveal the secrets of how they keep getting bigger. It is…

As China slides, smartphone giants seek ways to revive growth

Written by Staff Writer

Sometimes, nothing but a peek inside the smartphone empire of Apple, HTC and Samsung seem to be able to reveal the secrets of how they keep getting bigger.

It is easy to find those big phones in China, at least in their cheap, flip phone guises. But no longer is China now the world’s largest smartphone market — that honor now belongs to India.

Xiaomi, the Chinese electronics manufacturer that rose so swiftly from only a few handsets to become a force to be reckoned with, is now firmly ensconced in the No. 3 position, giving space to Apple and Samsung, which has a rising grip on the market.

Xiaomi was joined in the global third spot by HTC, which is enjoying a revival thanks to sales of its latest budget model, the One X6. HTC was re-entering the market, much like Xiaomi, in 2013 with the One M8.

In addition to dropping to No. 3, the Indian smartphone market was again viewed with regret by Samsung, which said in a recent briefing that China has come to represent around 50% of its overall smartphone shipments.

In the fourth spot is Huawei, the Chinese smartphone leader who has been positioning itself as the brand people use for quality devices, without resorting to the levels of knock-off devices associated with competitors. The year-on-year figures for Chinese smartphone shipments are indicative of the effort Huawei has put in to try to stave off the rise of Chinese rivals.

Behind Huawei is Oppo, China’s third-largest telecom equipment and smart-phone manufacturer, while LG rounded out the top five.

Among the Chinese names, Honor, OPPO and Gionee received partial acclaim, while Lenovo had the distinction of being the only company other than Huawei and Xiaomi to see growth for a third consecutive quarter.

In India, meanwhile, shipments of Android devices rose 23.1% to overtake those of iOS devices, according to a new report from Counterpoint Research.

Apple, which is facing shortages of iPhones, has slumped to a No. 4 spot in India — its lowest position in the world — although the company said shipments to the country rose by over 20% to around 2.7 million in the second quarter of 2018.

In the three months to June 30, the total shipment in China was below 40 million smartphones — its lowest level since the third quarter of 2014, according to research company TrendForce.

But analysts expect smartphone shipments to rebound in the final quarter of 2018.

Commenting on the Chinese downturn, according to TrendForce analyst Anshul Gupta, “It might be hard to claim Apple’s drop is attributable to lack of new product launches and this is a temporary phase. More to the point, China is in a critical period of switching to a lower-price (model) ecosystem.”

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