Which smartphones do Chinese use?

APRIL 17, 2019

Ten years ago, the biggest five phone manufactures in the world are Nokia, Samsung, Motorola, LG, and Sony. None of them is a Chinese brand. Now, ten years later, the biggest five phone manufactures in the world are Samsung, Huawei, iPhone, Xiaomi, OPPO. Four of them are Chinese brand. In ten years, Chinese phone brands raise from minnows to icons. Same in the domestic market, ten years ago, almost all Chinese use foreign phone brands; today, most Chinese use local phones.

At the end of 2018, Huawei has a 23% market share in China, OPPO and Vivo have 21% respectively, and Xiaomi has 13%. iPhone, on the other hand, has shrunk its market share to 10%. The rest of the Chinese market is shared by other brands like Meizu, Gionee, Lenovo and Samsung, etc. The Matthew Effect also applies well to the Chinese smartphone market. The weak players go smaller and the strong ones go bigger.

Why Chinese smartphone brands are raising? Their products meet the need: high value, reasonable or even cheap price. These Chinese smartphone brands offer various models to suit the need of all. If you have a high budget for fancy phones, Huawei Mate, Xiaomi Mix, Vivo X get you covered. If you just want a smartphone for simple usage like a phone call, chatting and browsing, Xiami Redmi, Lenovo, and some models of OPPO and VIVO, etc can also get you covered. As a Chinese saying goes, “whatever your needs are, we get you covered”.

In order to enlarge the market share and target the right customer group, the phone manufactures also know the needs of the different levels of customers well and the rise and down of these needs. For example, in the last two years, the popularity for high-end business use, fast charging, beauty camera are rising and the need for elder person, high price-value and music are lowering. Customers are nowadays pursuing fancy functions and appearance of the smartphone more. And in general, most customers are updating their smartphones to a newer and better model.

AI is also widely applied in these Chinese phones. Among all the currently available AI technologies, Face lock, intelligent light shooting, AI beautified camera and intelligent recognition are the most commonly used and most popular ones. Users consider technology and fashion a lot when they purchasing a new smartphone.

There is also a brand effect in the smartphone market, especially for Huawei, Xiaomi, OPPO, and VIVO. Their customers tend to buy the same brand when they purchase a new phone. For example, in 2018, 51.8% of the customers of Huawei P20 came from former Huawei users. And Xiaomi users are even more famous for their loyalty to the brand. In 2018, 55.2% Redmi 6 users come from Mi Fans. Regarding OPPO and VIVO, since they are similar and actually born from the same company, and the users also switch between the two brands often. In 2018, 34.3% of the customers of VIVO Y85 came from OPPO.

In general, the Chinese smartphone market is a highly competitive one and the past years see the rise of local brands. iPhones market is shrinking in recent years. Samsung and LG almost quit in the Chinese market. Huawei, Xiaomi, OPPO, and VIVO are raisin and dominating the market. As we all know, phone manufacturers sell streaming services together with their phone, so it’s also the traffic market share.