China's Smartphone Market Drops by 7% in 2019
COVID-19 and China
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China's smartphone market experienced a slight decrease of 7%  in 2019. The strong demand for 4G smartphones in 2018 led the country to ship around 395 million units; in 2019, the year the phone makers started to release 5G phones, fewer purchases occurred for 4G, yet the expected boom for 5G smartphones was a disappointment. The country shipped around 368 million smartphones in 2019, according to research firm Canalys.

Huawei continued to dominate China smartphone market in 2019, with 142 million shipments, a 35 % increase from 104 million in 2018, while other brands all experienced a significant reduction in their purchases. Despite a 17% decrease, the Guangdong phone maker Oppo ranked second largest, with 65.7 million units, followed by Vivo with 62.7 million and Xiaomi with 38.8 million.  Apple ranked fifth with 27.5 million units.

The healthy share of Huawei in China is mainly due to its 5G smartphones being very popular among the Chinese. Among all the 8.9 million 5G smartphones shipped in mainland China in 2019, 78% of phones were shipped by Huawei, as reported by Canalys.

Despite having a tiny share of less than 1% in China, according to market research firm Strategy Analytics, Samsung continues to dominate the global smartphone market. Last year, the South Korean smartphone maker closed its last Chinese phone factory, in the city of Huizhou. 

In 2019, more than 1.3 billion smartphones were sold worldwide. Among the leaders in the industry, Samsung ranks first on the list, with 298.1 million units, followed by Huawei, with 240.6 million and Apple at 198.1. The nine-year-old Xiaomi appears in fourth place with 125 million, followed by Oppo at 120.2 million units, according to Canalys. 

The global statistics show China's dominance overall as a source of smartphone branding, software, and hardware. Huawei's preeminence in the mobile handset arena, as well as its leadership in the deployment of 5G, speaks volumes for its importance in a competitive and changing market.

Editor: Luke Sheehan

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