OPPO dethrones Huawei in the world’s largest smartphone market

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OPPO China
  • Oppo is currently the largest smartphone manufacturer in China
  • The data were released today (5) by the agency Counterpoint
  • Huawei falls to third place, overtaken by Vivo and Oppo

China is the world’s largest smartphone market, given the volume of units sold. The market has been dominated by Huawei in recent years, with Apple carving a small slice for itself, where Samsung has failed to penetrate.

In January 2021, Oppo leads this Asian market for the first time. The data were released today (5) by the market analysis agency, Counterpoint Research, reporting the changes and dynamics in this extremely competitive market.

Oppo leads the Chinese market in January 2021

OPPO China
Most popular manufacturers in China. Credit: Counterpoint Research

The table above shows the evolution of the Chinese market from the third quarter of 2019 to the last quarter of 2020, with the six largest manufacturers to be taken into account. During this period, the podium belonged to Huawei, just as, in fact, it belonged in the years leading up to 2019.

Nevertheless, the trade block and sanctions imposed by the United States of America on Huawei began to have an effect from the third quarter of 2019. Since then, no Huawei phone has been equipped with Google services – something that has no impact in China. – but that also conditioned the manufacturer in its pursuit of components and semiconductors.

The worsening of Huawei’s difficulties resulted in the erosion of its market share. As a result, Oppo now count on 21% of China’s market share for the first time in its history, becoming the current leader.

Second, the Alive already has 20% of this same profitable market. As far as it is concerned, the Huawei dropped from first to third place, drawing with Apple and Xiaomi – these three manufacturers now have 16% market share in China.

Oppo swapped positions with Huawei

Oppo Android smartphone Huawei
Evolution of the position of Huawei and Oppo in China. Credit: Counterpoint Research

The inversion of positions between both manufacturers was rapid. Furthermore, Oppo expanded its presence in China by 33% month to month, as Counterpoint points out. To this was added a strong external expansion to markets such as Europe.

Paying attention to the data from Counterpoint, we see Oppo with a 16% market share in the last quarter of 2021. Now, in the beginning of 2021, this value jumped to 21%, with Vivo following the steps and sending it back leader for third place.

Oppo, not Xiaomi, is Huawei’s natural successor

Oppo’s bet is on high-end smartphones and high-end smartphones. Unlike Xiaomi, Oppo does not bet significantly on the entry segment, with its products having a higher profit margin.

We see in Oppo, with the support of these metrics, a substitute for Huawei. The manufacturer is attacking the areas and segments in which Huawei stood out the most, despite the latter being developing the Huawei P50s and making Mate X2 known.

Even so, Huawei continues to struggle with a shortage of chips and difficulty in accessing the components. This compromises its position in the domestic market. Internationally, it remains deprived of Google services, a highly conditioning factor for the average consumer.

On the other hand, Oppo is in the middle of an expansion phase. Very soon, on March 11, it will make known the Find X3 range with three new smartphones that will arrive in Europe. And yes, they will all have Google services.

Huawei is unlikely to recover the podium in the short / medium term.

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