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Huawei's no longer a top-five smartphone brand in China

On the eve of the Huawei P50 series announcement, new market data from China reveals a sharp decline in demand for Huawei smartphones as the brand struggles to deal with US trade sanctions.

Huawei is (almost) dead, long live Honor!

The International Data Corporation (IDC) reports that smartphone shipments in China reached 78.1 million units in the second quarter of 2021, down 11% year-on-year due to the lack of new devices and the ongoing chip shortage.

Huawei, the former number one smartphone brand both in China and around the world, was the biggest loser during the quarter as it lost even more ground and failed to make it into the local top 5. The company has been relegated to the ‘Others’ category alongside international household names like Samsung and OnePlus, among others.

Something positive has arisen from Huawei’s ashes, though. Former sub-brand Honor entered the top 5 for the first time. It shipped 6.9 million smartphones and accounted for 8.9% of the market during the quarter, despite having few devices on sale. Honor’s shipments are down 46% compared to the same period last year, but the brand is now well-positioned to absorb most of what remains of Huawei’s China smartphone business, meaning it could soon overtake Apple.

Apple had the top 2 best-selling smartphones in China Speaking of Apple, the company is said to have experienced 17% year-on-year growth in the second quarter of 2021. IDC reports that it shipped 8.6 million iPhone units in China between April and June. On Apple’s recent earnings call, CEO Tim Cook revealed that the company had experienced a “particularly strong response” to the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max in the Greater China region.

Tim Cook also said Apple has the top 2 best-selling smartphones in China, which are presumably the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max. It’s unclear how well the vanilla iPhone 12 models and older iPhone 11 have performed.

Xiaomi to the moon! The big winner in China last quarter was Xiaomi, which increased its market share to 17.2% and experienced impressive 47% year-on-year growth. IDC says it shipped 13.4 million smartphones in total. Xiaomi has continued to invest in online channels to take advantage of local celebrations. At the same time, it ensured a presence offline through better cooperation with retail partners in China. The affordable Redmi K40 series proved crucial to the brand in the highly competitive mid-range segment. The brand was also able to boost its revenue and profit margins with more expensive products like the Mi 11 Pro and Mi 11 Ultra.

Vivo and Oppo were ahead in the Chinese smartphone market Leading the Chinese smartphone market in Q2 2021 were Vivo and Oppo with 18.6 million and 16.5 million shipments, respectively. Vivo’s shipments increased 23.6% whereas Oppo’s were up 17.3% during the quarter. Vivo has found success with the affordable Y Series, as well as the smartphones it commercializes under sub-brand iQOO. The Vivo X and S lines helped maintain its position in the premium segment. Oppo, on the other hand, had several A-series devices that were popular, including the A32 and A55. Demand for Reno devices wasn’t as stable due to the age of models, but the recently announced Reno 6 series should give the brand a boost in the coming months.

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