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China’s Smartphone Market Records First Growth In Four Years

The Chinese smartphone market has recovered after a horror run over the past four years.

Smartphone shipments increase 27 per cent, with 92.4 million units being sent out into the world.

Interestingly, this increase mirrors the global smartphone market, which also rose 27 per cent.

Although Huawei dropped down the rankings, due to a trade sanction war with the Trump administration, Vivo and Oppo have stepped up, shipping 21.6 million and 20.6 million units, respectively.

Huawei shipped 14.9 million units, with Xiaomi (13.5m) and Apple (12.0m) rounding out the top five.

“The market has returned to prosperity this quarter,” said Canalys Research Analyst Amber Liu.

“Leading vendors are racing to the top of the market, and there was an unusually high number of smartphone launches this quarter compared with Q1 2020 or even Q4 2020. Huawei’s sanctions and Honor’s divestiture have been hallmarks of this new market growth, as consumers and channels become more open to alternative brands.”

“The rapidly growing number of 5G subscribers is another key factor driving device replacement, which exceeded 350 million by the end of Q1,” continued Liu.

“Operators are more determined than ever to migrate 4G subscribers to 5G. Many provincial operators are only offering 5G tariffs when consumers start a new contract or attempt to renew an existing 4G contract. We expect 5G smartphones will become the de facto choice for the majority of Chinese consumers when they replace a device from this year.

“China’s smartphone market kicked off 2021 with strength, and the momentum is expected to continue as 5G penetration accelerates in the country.

“It will be increasingly challenging for Chinese vendors to dynamically adjust their supply between their home and overseas markets, as global markets are also looking to reopen in the coming quarters.”