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Published on August 9th, 2013 | by Sarah Hazelwood

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China’s smartphone sales surge

China is the world’s largest smartphone market but according to recent figures, the country’s own handset makers are starting to push out big name western brands, and as a result now account for around one fifth of global sales.

Research group Canalys has found that surging sales of cut-price smartphones mass produced in China has resulted in the likes of Huawei, ZTE and lesser-known brands including Xiaomi and Yulong soaring in popularity over recent months.

Chinese rival Lenovo has also entered the top five global handset markets for the first time, overtaking the likes of Nokia and BlackBerry, which once dominated the market.

Figures are up 15% from the same period last year, although they still sit way below the two leading manufacturers, Samsung and Apple, which grew 55% and 20% respectively thanks to handset like the Galaxy S4 and iPhone 4S. However, these latest findings are a sure sign that no phone maker can take its position for granted in the mobile world.

Price cuts

Collectively the market share held by Nokia, HTC and BlackBerry has fallen by almost half in the last 12 months alone. As the number of low-cost devices being sold by smaller companies continues to rise in emerging markets, it’s no wonder that bigger brands, who charge more for their creations, are now in some instances being blown out of the water.

During the second quarter of 2013 Lenovo shipped 11.3 million smartphones, but a staggering 95% of these were in China, which propelled the phone maker to third place in the global smartphone market for the first time.

When it comes to mobile technology, China’s strategy has always been to push all of the smartphones that land on its shores to the mass market. However, this is something which is clearly proving to be beneficial for local vendors. Whether these companies can continue to make the same impact on the rest of the world however, remains to be seen.

Nothing’s certain

HTC’s latest sales report recently revealed that its market share in its home country of Taiwan dipped to its lowest in eight years. This is a clear indication that even on home turf things can change quickly, and will continue to do so as long as the competition increases.

Canalys also found that total global smartphone shipments neared 240 million in the second quarter, signalling a 50% rise year on year, but it would seem a large quantity of this figure is now mid-range and low-end handsets.

Chris Jones, principal analyst at Canalys, said: “The high end of the market continues to grow there is no doubt that the explosive growth will come from the low-end of the market.”

One of the problems with high-end devices is they are becoming one and the same, as manufacturer’s struggle to develop new innovations at a similar rate to the ever shortening life mobile life cycles. So, as long as smaller brands carry on packing impressive specs into affordable packages and offering them on cheap mobile contracts, then China’s mobile market will continue to grow, as will the popularity of these home grown manufacturers.

If each of these companies continues to reap success in China it will no doubt provide a solid foundation in their quests to take on other mobile markets around the world. While its likely to take some time before any witness the same level of dominance as Apple and Samsung, it will certainly make the big players reassess their strategies to ensure they hold on to their leading positions for as long as possible.


About the Author

Sarah is a newcomer to the world of technology but is making huge leaps and doing her reputation no harm at all with her excellent writing skills. She has a serious passion for mobile phones and can often be seen at all the top tech events.


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