China’s smartphone market has, historically, been pretty wild. It’s by far the biggest market for smartphones in the world, but rather than falling in line, the country has blazed its own trail.

Unlike the UK where the likes of Apple and Samsung reign supreme, with a few crumbs for competing manufacturers, China has long played host to brands that few in the west would recognise, but nonetheless sell like hotcakes in their home nation.

We’re talking about the likes of Oppo, Vivo and Meizu, which have all – at various times – accounted for some of the most popular brands in the world, despite not setting foot in western markets (officially, at least)

Compounding that obscurity is the fact that Chinese customers simply don’t seem to show the brand loyalty that other world consumers do. As a result, we’ve seen quarter after quarter of significantly fluctuating fortunes for chinese brands.

At least, until recently.

According to new numbers from Kantar Worldpanel, the top five vendors within China are growing into a stronger and more dominant group, consolidating their lead.

Kantar report that for the twelve months ending October 2017, the top five of Huawei, Xiaomi, Apple, Vivo, and Oppo accounted for a whopping 91% of all smartphone sales. That’s a 12% leap from a year earlier and a change which is putting significant pressure on players like Meizu, Lenovo and ZTE, not to mention Samsung, who are down to a 2.2% market share of the Chinese market.

Speaking on the results, Kantar said:

Urban China, a market once overrun with new challengers, is maturing, with the top five players all posting strong growth and the long tail of challenger brands falling away rapidly. In the three months ending in October 2017, the top five brands – Huawei, Xiaomo (sic), Apple, Vivo, and Oppo – made up 91% of sales, compared to 79% a year earlier.

“Chinese brands like Meizu, LeTV, Coolpad, ZTE, and Lenovo were once on the same trajectory as like of Xiaomi, but any momentum they once had has abruptly stopped, with many struggling to get past a 1% share,” Sunnebo said. “Samsung’s performance in China continues to deteriorate, with its share now down to just 2.2% of that market.”


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Ten fingers, five senses, one man, loads of Chinese smartphones.

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