The Chinese smartphone market is, basically, totally bonkers at the moment. With each passing quarter (that’s 3 months, to you non-business folks), there’s some seismic shift in who exactly is selling the most handsets.

Take, for example, this time last year. It was Q3, 2015 – a simpler time, a time when Xiaomi had a powerful 14.6% share of the market and Huawei a commanding 15.6%. In their wake came the likes of Oppo and Vive, who had 9.9% and 8.2% respectively. Now, just one year later, those two companies have come to dominate the market, if a report from Counterpoint Research is to be believed.

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Overall, the demand for smartphones in China rose 8%, but the real story here is Oppo & Vivo’s remarkable performance at the sake of Apple and Xiaomi. Here’s what Neil Shah, Research Director at Counterpoint said:

“The growth of Oppo and Vivo has been mostly in low to high-tier where it has been successful to take share away from Samsung, Lenovo, Coolpad and to some extent Apple (older models). However, with Samsung’s losing mindshare and marketshare, there is a big opportunity in premium segment ($600+ wholesale) where Apple has the lion share with Huawei the only formidable brand left. This is the area which Oppo and Vivo would exploit next year or so to cement their leading spots in China market building on their growing brand equity, head-turning industrial design and wider distribution network.”

The report, published before the announcement of Xiaomi’s Mi Mix and Mi Note 2, suggests that Xiaomi have been only selling well in the mid to low end of the market, and need a ‘hero’ product to push them into the highly profitable upper end of the market.

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Of course, this is China, and with so many devices coming from so many manufacturers (and such little brand loyalty), it’s almost impossible to second guess where the market will turn next. As always, we wait and see.

 

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

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