China’s smartphone shipments increased 17.3 per cent to 110 million units in Q1 compared to a year ago, with Xiaomi narrowly maintaining the top position over number two Apple.
Xiaomi shipped 14 million units during the period, maintaining its market share at 12.8 per cent – up 1.5 points from a year ago but at the same level as in Q4, according to Strategy Analytics. The fast-rising local maker has been on top in China for three quarters. But its rapid growth is now slowing after delivering negative sequential growth for the past two quarters.
Number two Apple, in contrast, continues to grow rapidly, shipping 13.5 million iPhones in Q1 and closing the gap with Xiaomi, as its market share grew to 12.3 per cent from 10.9 per cent in Q4. A year ago its share was 8.3 per cent.
Xiaomi’s shipments fell 11 per cent sequentially in Q1, while Apple managed to increase output marginally from its record Q4. Year-on-year Xiaomi’s output increased 32 per cent, while Apple’s was up 73 per cent.
If the current trends continue, Apple could become China’s largest smartphone vendor in the second half of this year, said Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics.
Huawei shipped 11.2 million smartphones and held on to third place with a 10.2 per cent share, up from 8.5 per cent a year ago. Shipments grew 40 per cent from a year ago.
Woody Oh, a director at Strategy Analytics, said Huawei has significantly improved its product design and expanded its online retail presence in China, enabling it to become a major smartphone player. The Mate7, Ascend P6 and Honor series are among the main models driving its growth.
This is the first quarter that the country’s annual growth rate has been lower than the global average since 2010, said Linda Sui, a director at Strategy Analytics.
China is by far the largest smartphone market in the world, with 420.7 million units shipped last year, according to IDC. But as smartphone penetration expands, growth has started to slow, with the market rising just 19 per cent year-on-year in Q4.