Xiaomi has retaken the top spot in the Chinese smartphone market ahead of rivals, both domestic and international according to reports from two analyst firms. If accurate, the reports mean that Xiaomi has replaced Apple atop the pile, with the Cupertino company dropping to third and Chinese conglomerate Huawei taking second place.
Analyst firm Canalys’ report that Xiaomi shipped 15.9 percent of all smartphones in China during Q2 2015 with Apple dropping to third and Huawei taking second place with 15.7 percent of shipments. Huawei’s growth is interesting as it was spurred by 48 percent quarter-on-quarter growth in sales of (sub-brand) Honor smartphones.Naturally, all analyst data is open for interpretation but a separate report from Counterpoint Research corroborates that Xiaomi has retaken the top spot. Counterpoint suggest that Xiaomi took first place with 15.8 percent market share, ahead of Huawei (15.4 percent) and Apple (12.2 percent). Counterpoint then placed Vivo in fourth on 8.1 percent (250 percent year-on-year growth) with Samsung coming in fifth.
Apple’s decline is only likely to be temporary with both analyst firms recognising that the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are no longer new to market and are expected to be replaced in just over a month’s time. Given that Apple’s smartphones continue to perform well – even better than Samsung’s new Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge which launched during Q2 – any new devices are likely to challenge new devices expected from Samsung, Huawei and LG (amongst others) later this year.
Samsung’s strategy of introducing new, much slimmer smartphones first in China doesn’t seem to be paying off as increased competition from Xiaomi and Huawei is attacking the company’s portfolio. While Samsung struggles in the increasingly-competitive market, Xiaomi has bounced back after a couple of uninspiring launches – the Mi Note and Redmi 2 were the top devices in the quarter – and Huawei’s Honor brand continues to offer impressive devices (like the Honor 7) at an affordable price.
In a statement to TechCrunch, Canalys analyst Jingwen Wang, said:
“Apple and Samsung have both increased their sales activities in the China market, expanding rapidly in channel coverage through flagship stores and small to medium size phone retailers respectively. Xiaomi is under immense pressure to maintain its top position in the quarters to come,”
The Chinese market – which is the world’s largest for smartphones – continues to very slowly grow and has seen most manufacturers target the country as a source of new revenues and adoption. For Samsung, the lack of success of its current strategy may see the company adopt an alternative approach for the Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 Edge Plus while rumoured Huawei devices including the Huawei Nexus could provide a stern challenge for Xiaomi later this year.