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Forget Xiaomi! Oppo might be the next Apple, at least in China

Xiaomi wanted to earn the moniker “Apple of China” but Oppo seems to be sitting at the top with the title in grasp.

tech Updated: Feb 06, 2017 16:53 IST
HT Correspondent
Xiaomi wanted to earn the moniker “Apple of China” but Oppo seems to be sitting at the top with the title in grasp.
Xiaomi wanted to earn the moniker “Apple of China” but Oppo seems to be sitting at the top with the title in grasp.

Chinese handset-maker Oppo might be out there to prove a point -- a brand that started recently is giving big brands such as Apple, Huawei and Samsungs of the world a run for their money.

Don’t believe us? Then we will let market research firm International Data Corporation’s quarterly mobile tracker report speak for us.

According to the latest IDC Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker for China, the smartphone market in China saw a 19% year on year (y-o-y) growth and 17% quarter on quarter (q-o-q) growth in the last quarter of 2016. This period also saw little-known phone-maker, Oppo, hurtling to the top spot for the first time just beating its sister company Vivo and bigger rival Huawei. Apple and Xiaomi, two massive names, meanwhile, posted their first annual shipment declines.

Read: Oppo A57, selfie smartphone, priced at Rs 14,990 to go on sale today

Guangzhou-based BBK owns both Oppo and Vivo and both these companies are also fighting for market share in markets like India. According to IDC, the secret sauce of their strategy seems to be the adaptation of newer technologies at low cost and aggresive marketing techniques along with carefully planned sales strategy.

Read: Gadget review: Oppo Joy 3 A11W It’s sleek, light and fast

IDC’s report shows that Oppo’s annual sales in China were up to 78.4 million, up 122 percent year-on-year, first on the list, while Vivo sat slightly lower in third with 69.2 million shipments, up 97 percent. Sandwiched between the two is Huawei, with 76.6 million shipments. Apple and Xiaomi round out the top five.

According to IDC, Oppo and Vivo combined account for nearly one-third of the Chinese smartphone market, which is the world’s largest based on sales.

Read: Xiaomi slips over lack of innovation as Oppo, Vivo lead in China: Report

The report also shows that for the full year of 2016, the market grew by 9% with top Chinese smartphone vendors taking up a larger share of the market. The 4 Chinese vendors in the top five were the same in 2015, and their share grew from 46% in 2015 to 57% in 2016. This shows the growing local acceptance of Chinese vendors in its home country with the improvement in product features and better marketing messages seen in the past year.

Read: Tech review: Oppo F1 ‘Selfie Expert’

“Increased dependence on mobile apps has led to consumers to seek phone upgrades, thus helping drive the large growth in 2016Q4. In lower tiered cities, there was a similar demand by consumers, which OPPO and vivo met by aggressively pushing mid-range smartphones in these cities,” says Tay X iaohan, senior market analyst with IDC Asia/Pacific’s Client Devices team.