Chinese Rivals Gain Ground As Apple Holds Back On New Tech
Recent reports state that Apple’s decision to hold back on new technological features, has provided Chinese smartphone rivals the best opportunity to charge ahead in premium markets, via their comparatively high-tech designs and lower prices.
Chinese-based Huawei and Oppo, plus Korea’s Samsung Electronics, have already released smartphones with wireless charging, edge-to-edge screen design and dual camera – however, these features are highlighted as new innovations within Apple’s latest suite of iPhones, unveiled last week.
Whilst Californian-based Apple is encouraging consumers to pay $1,000+ for premium models, individuals are now given the choice to consider other ‘luxury’ or high-end smartphones, encompassing strong tech features, for much less money.
A spokesperson for Europe’s biggest electronics retailer, MediaMarktSaturn, states Chinese-based manufacturers, Huawei, ZTE, Lenovo and TCL, are ranked among the Top 10 best selling smartphones within their stores.
Formerly, Chinese smartphone makers were seen to mass manufacture budget phones with imitative tech features.
Today, consensus is many Chinese-based rivals have inserted plenty of premium technological features into competitively priced smartphones.
By doing so, and expanding their marketing reach, reports emerge that some Chinese smartphone rivals have managed to win over previously loyal Apple fans.
MediaMarktSaturn’s spokesperson states of the transition towards Chinese rivals:
“Huawei is seen as a relevant competitor to Apple and Samsung (by) covering all major price points and placing big investments in marketing and sales”.
European shipments of Huawei phones have reportedly soared over 50% during the first half of 2017.
Huawei recently poked jabs at Apple’s iPhone X, stating the “Real AI (artificial intelligence) Phone” will launch next month. [Read about it in a ChannelNews article here]. The announcement builds up hype for its next phone, rumoured to be named the Mate 10, unveiled on October 16th. Reports state the phone will have many of iPhone X’s features, while undercutting its price.
Other Chinese brands, such as Xiaomi, are also making a play for the high end premium smartphone market.
Research Director at Counterpoint, Neil Shah, states of the shifting marketplace hierarchy:
“Chinese brands with growing scale, access to the same supply chain, rising components buying power, aggressive marketing and value-for-money offerings have stalled Apple’s growth rate and nullified the differentiation points”.
By contrast, some analysts affirm that Chinese-based companies do have some a while to go, before they can convert Apple fans:
“Apple has taken years to build that premium brand image, and Samsung too. If they can pay a little more to purchase an Apple or Samsung phone, most consumers may still continue to do that”, states Xiaohan Tay, Analyst IDC.
“The biggest challenge they (Chinese firms) face would be proving to consumers their products and brand are worth paying that much for”, Tay states.
Thus far, Apple has not responded to recent media requests to comment on why they have held back on various technological innovations.