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Smartphone shipments in China drop for the first time

Chinese flag, local smartphone market drops for the first time in history in 2017
Chinese flag
Although the Chinese market recorded a few quarterly drops in the past, 2017 was the first year ever to end with a negative smartphone shipments growth.

China and the United States are two key markets for smartphone vendors, although India shows a lot of potential as well. However, the global smartphone market has been shifting for a while in the direction of the developing countries. Obviously, China remains a key market for most players in this industry, but 2017 was the first year to end without an increase in smartphone shipments when compared to its predecessor.

According to the most recent report by research firm Canalys, the Chinese smartphone market recorded a 4 percent drop in 2017 when compared to 2016. The number of units shipped remains impressive, of course: no less than 459 million new smartphones and phablets were purchased in China last year. One interesting fact is that the last quarter was pretty bad, with a 14 percent drop over the same period of 2016. Even this way, the amount of 113 million units shipped in Q4 2017 is still massive.

During the final quarter of last year, Huawei managed to ship 24 million handsets in China, followed by Oppo (19 million) and Vivo (17 million). The catch is that Huawei achieved this result on a 9 percent growth, while its followers dropped by 16 percent and 7 percent, respectively.

The decline of the Chinese smartphone market is good for many consumers in other areas, since local brands like Xiaomi are now expanding into new territories. In the long run, this could spell trouble for Samsung because the South Korea-based multinational giant has no match for handsets like the Xiaomi Mi A1 or the Honor 7X.


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Codrut Nistor, 2018-01-26 (Update: 2018-01-26)