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China’s top five vendors account for 20% of the world’s smart phone shipments

The top five smartphone vendors in China now make up 20% of the global market, according to Q2 figures published by Canalys.

Lenovo, Yulong, Huawei, ZTE and Xiaomi are steadily encroaching on Samsung and Apple, which have both lost ground despite growing their shipments to maintain first and second place respectively.

Chinese vendors accounted for less than 15% of the total market a year ago, meaning that shipments have increased by over 50%. Shipments in China grew 108% year-on-year, the second highest growth rate of the major markets, to 88.1 million. This represented over a third of all worldwide shipments.

Apple’s market share fell to its lowest level since Q1 2009, but its numbers were buoyed by the performance of its older models after a price cut. ‘The high end of the market continues to grow but there is no doubt that the explosive growth will come from the low end of the market,’ said Chris Jones, VP and Principal Analyst. ‘Apple needs to respond to this dynamic and it is evident from the performance of its older models this quarter that there is real demand for a new low-cost iPhone. The challenge that it faces is maintaining high margins on arguably the most important products in its portfolio.’

Lenovo took second place in China this quarter, where it shipped 10.8 million smart phones. 95% of its total 11.3 million shipments were in its home market, helping take it to third place in the worldwide smart phone market for the first time.

‘Lenovo has benefited from its large TD-SCDMA product portfolio, much of which is aimed at the low-end,’ said Nicole Peng, Research Director, China. ‘China Mobile's strategy of continuously pushing TD-SCDMA smart phones to the mass market benefits local vendors, in particular Lenovo and Yulong. The critical task for these vendors now though is to reduce their reliance on their home market and grow their businesses internationally. To achieve this they will need to invest in patents, establishing local teams and channels as well as diversifying their product portfolios to attract a broader range of consumer segments.’

smartphone shipments 2013

The US was still in second place in terms of shipments, but geographically, India stood out this quarter with smart phone shipments there growing the fastest of the major markets by 129% to hit 9.0 million and make it the world’s third largest smart phone market. But the dynamics of the market make it challenging for international vendors, besides Samsung, to succeed. Jessica Kwee, Canalys Analyst, said: Samsung has invested heavily in its brand and channel relationships over a number of years, which has given it a big advantage over many of its international competitors.’

She adds: ‘India is a market in transition, moving from feature phones to smart phones, and is a market that offers huge potential as hundreds of millions of users have yet to upgrade their feature phones. Domestic vendors, such as Micromax and Karbonn, are capitalising on the popularity of their feature phones and are quicker to respond to local market demands, hence their current success.’

Platform-wise, Android grew the fastest during the quarter, by 79% year-on-year. It powered 190 million, or 80%, of the smart phones shipped in Q2. Apple’s iOS share fell to 13% as the vendor readies itself for anticipated new products in the second half of 2013. Microsoft’s Windows Phone shipments grew by 54% annually. This was driven by Nokia with 31% sequential growth in Windows Phone shipments, enabling Microsoft to retain a 3% share. BlackBerry’s shipments grew sequentially by 15%, also helping it to retain a 3% share of the market. For the record, Q2 2013 represented another nail in the coffin for Symbian, as shipments slipped under the million mark for the first time since Q1 2003.

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