Chinese Smartphone Vendors Are On The Rise


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As has already been reported, smartphone shipments continued to grow during the second quarter of 2013. Canalys today released its estimates, showing that shipments grew 50% from the second quarter of 2012 to 238.1 million units. The analyst firm's numbers also show that Chinese smartphone manufacturers are raising their market shares quickly.

Canalys estimates that the top five Chinese smartphone manufacturers - Lenovo, Yulong, Huawei, ZTE, and Xiaomi - accounted for a combined 20% of smartphone shipments this past quarter. Smartphone shipments in China rose over 100% this past year to now comprise over 33% of the quarter's 238 million units shipped. India also saw a massive rise in smartphone shipments over the past year, with shipments rising 129% year-over-year to 9 million units.

Like other analysts, Canalys is predicting that most future growth in the smartphone market will come from mid- and low-end devices.

"Lenovo has benefited from its large TD-SCDMA product portfolio, much of which is aimed at the low-end," said Nicole Peng, a research director at Canalys. "China Mobile's strategy of continuously pushing TD-SCDMA smart phones to the mass market benefits local vendors, in particular Lenovo and Yulong. The critical task for these vendors now though is to reduce their reliance on their home market and grow their businesses internationally. To achieve this they will need to invest in patents, establishing local teams and channels as well as diversifying their product portfolios to attract a broader range of consumer segments."

Though the Chinese smartphone market is expected to grow for sometime to come, Chinese manufacturers will have a hard time pushing past Apple and Samsung, which make up a combined 44.8% of global smartphone shipments, according to Canalys' data. Samsung has a wide variety of smartphone styles and is shipping double the number of mobile devices as any other company. With Apple expected to release a mid-range iPhone this fall, analysts are predicting that the current Apple/Samsung dominance will continue for some time to come.

"The high end of the market continues to grow but there is no doubt that the explosive growth will come from the low end of the market," said Chris Jones, a principal analyst at Canalys. "Apple needs to respond to this dynamic and it is evident from the performance of its older models this quarter that there is real demand for a new low-cost iPhone. The challenge that it faces is maintaining high margins on arguably the most important products in its portfolio."