Apple and Oppo Battle for Top Spot in China Phone Market
Apple Inc. and Oppo were the top smartphone makers in China over the first quarter, in a market that’s still shrinking following a year of economic disruptions.
Apple Inc. and Oppo were the top smartphone makers in China over the first quarter, in a market that's still shrinking following a year of economic disruptions.
Shenzhen-based Oppo had the biggest share of shipments, at 19.6%, according to IDC's latest figures, with Apple's iPhone following close behind. Counterpoint and Canalys estimates, which look at sales and shipments, handed Apple the narrow lead. The US electronics firm clinched the top spot in the final three months of last year following the release of its iPhone 14 and 14 Pro series.
The Chinese smartphone market registered double-digit contractions for most of the past year, first with steep drops in sales of Android handsets, such as those made by Oppo, and eventually impacting even Apple's iPhone range. Shipments to mainland China declined 11% in the first quarter relative to the prior year, to the lowest first-quarter levels in a decade, Canalys said.
Price cuts of iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max models helped in February, IDC said, though the introduction of a new yellow iPhone 14 handset failed to stir major excitement. Apple debuted the new color option in early March hoping to keep buyers interested in the pricey device, which costs at least 5,999 yuan ($870) in China.
Oppo managed to sell more premium devices than expected in the past quarter, according to IDC. It got a boost from its sub-brand OnePlus returning to the domestic market, along with a positive reception to its foldable devices. Samsung Electronics Co., the global leader in smartphones and foldables, has only a small presence in China, where every local phone maker now has at least one foldable model on sale.
None of the top five biggest vendors in China recorded positive growth. Vivo, Honor Mobile and Xiaomi Corp. rounded out the leading brands, each with significant declines on the year-ago period.
Smartphone production is down 13.8% in the world's second largest economy this year despite a rebound in the overall economy, official data showed.
“The pandemic affected consumer behavior in the medium to long term, where consumers tended to spend their income on necessities and maintain certain savings,” Canalys analyst Lucas Zhong said in a report on Thursday. “Vendors need to offer convincing products to stimulate upgrades.”
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