China smartphone market contracted by 4% YoY with 98.8 million units shipped in Q1 2015 according to IDC.
Apple was the top smartphone vendor in China in Q1 2015, with strong demand for the larger screens on iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, followed by Xiaomi and Huawei.
As of the end of March this year, the total number of China’s mobile phone users reached 1.29 billion, an increase of 3.6%, including 160 million 4G user in the first quarter of 2015.
IDC expects relatively flat growth for China in 2015. Other trends to expect in China this year include:
- Multi-brand strategies. Huawei and ZTE are positioning younger sub-brands Honor and nubia, respectively, to chip away at Xiaomi’s user base, and to attempt to gain a loyal fanbase. Lenovo is also getting into the mix with the Motorola acquisition, not to mention its upcoming online-focused Shenqi division.
- Higher price tier competition. More vendors like Huawei, Lenovo, and even Xiaomi are trying to push higher into the mid to high-end segment.
- Non-traditional channel strategies. Reduced operator subsidies mean that vendors will further expand channels into more vendor-branded retail shops, direct online sales, and eTailers instead. In particular, they are trying to save on the cost that they had to pay to the traditional dealers/distributors in the past.
- Expansion into overseas markets. With the market in China slowing down, Chinese vendors will focus on increasing their presence in India as well as more Southeast Asia countries in 2015.
The top three smartphone vendors in March 2015 are Huawei (13.57%), Apple (12.37%) and Samsung (10.15%) according to a GfK research.
Read more: China’s Mobile OS Market Snapshot in Q1 2015