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Blog: Rumours swirl as smartphone makers battle for top spot on Singles’ Day

13 NOV 2015

UPDATED 24-11: China’s Singles’ Day (11 November or 11-11) has turned into more of a brag-fest, with smartphone brands racing to release their “record numbers” the next day.

Xiaomi, after three years, knows the routine. Early on 12 November it announced it was number one in sales on online retail outlet Tmall, for the third straight year. Its total sales on the day reached CNY1.25 billion ($196 million). It claimed the top spot for smartphones, tablets and wearable devices. A year ago it said it sold an astonishing 1.16 million Mi units and was aiming for two million this year.

Soon after, Huawei, the country’s newly crowned smartphone leader in Q3 (according to Canalys), said its Honor brand smartphones racked up sales of more than CNY1.12 billion on Tmall during the 24-hour gala sale.

At about noon smartphone upstart Letv, better known for its smart TVs and streaming video content, reported sales of CNY1.5 billion across all e-commerce platforms, including its own LeMall.com, Tmall and JD.com. It sold 263,000 Le Superphones valued at CNY420 million (smart TV sales were more than double that.)

Not to be outdone, Chinese handset maker Meizu claimed sales topped CNY100 million on the annual shopping festival, which has become the largest online shopping day on the planet.

The world’s largest e-commerce company, Alibaba, which operates Tmall, said its Singles’ Day sales jumped 60 per cent to CNY91.2 billion, with devices accounting for 69 per cent of the sales.

The festival was introduced in the 1990s as a variation on Valentine’s Day for people without romantic partners. The association with shopping started in 2009 when some merchants began offering big sale promotions on Tmall.

The top-selling smartphones reportedly were the Xiaomi Redmi Note, Honor Play 5X and Meizu Metal.

Controversy
The handset makers’ grand announcements weren’t without controversy.

According to a ZDnet.com report, Xiaomi, Huawei and Meizu each claimed its rivals were taking steps to inflate orders. The site said there was evidence on Chinese microblogging site Weibo that some buyers were making bulk purchases of as many as 5,000 handsets, which they planned to resell.

The companies, of course, denied the claims and accused their competitors of attempting to damage their image.

As competition in China’s smartphone market intensifies, pressure to claim bragging rights on the ‘Double 11’ festival no doubt is spurring all sort of “creative” ways to rake in record sales.

The editorial views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and will not necessarily reflect the views of the GSMA, its Members or Associate Members.

Author

Joseph Waring

Joseph Waring joins Mobile World Live as the Asia editor for its new Asia channel. Before joining the GSMA, Joseph was group editor for Telecom Asia for more than ten years. In addition to writing features, news and blogs, he...

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