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China’s smartphone sales decline by 91mn as Xiaomi overtakes Apple

|Apr 26|magazine7 min read

Q1 2018 has exhibited a sharp decline in smartphone sales across China, with a record-breaking decrease of 91mn shipments.

This information comes from Canalys which published a report on Thursday, and marks a 21% annual decline in smartphone units sold in China.

Eight of the 10 most successful vendors saw their sales take a hit, CNBC has reported. Apple has lost its place as fourth most successful vendor in the country, being taken over by Xiaomi which offers a more affordable range for the Chinese consumer.

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Xiaomi told Business Chief earlier this year that while it will be pushing to develop its business in India, the company would still maintain a presence in its lucrative home market.

In discussing the company’s ‘India Number One’ strategy, Xiaomi’s Senior Vice President Wang Xiang explained: “China is the largest smartphone market in the world and will always be a key market for us. Meanwhile, the Chinese smartphone market is now largely a replacement market. This means that competition is even more intense.”

He added: “Competing on home ground with other Chinese smartphone companies helps us to further hone our business model and keeps us on our toes, as we believe that only the smartphone company with high-quality products and an amazing user experience will be able to breed user loyalty and sustain their business in the long term.”

Xiaomi also reportedly experienced the largest growth in shipments in the country last quarter, seeing a 37% increase to a total of 12mn units sold.

Huawei managed to retain its spot as the most successful vendor by shipment and did increase its sales, but only by 2%. The “big four”, of which Apple no longer has a place, includes Huawei, Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi and these companies make up over 73% of the units sold in A1 2018. CNBC has said that “more consolidation in the space is expected” in the coming months.

Canalys analyst Hattie He told the newspaper: “Xiaomi is the only vendor in the top-5 that is focused on the sub-RMB1,000 (about $160) price segment and it owes close to 90% of its shipments to Redmi.”

Redmi is Xiaomi’s budget range of smartphones which it has been producing since 2013.

Oppo, Vivo and Huawei all plan to launch new models in the next quarter, so the drop in figures could be partly attributed to consumers holding out for the latest high-tech instalment. The overall impact of a changing market will be more easily seen when annual figures are released for this year.