Starting with 2014 and going through 2015, Xiaomi was regarded as the best-selling handset of the year in China. Unfortunately, the manufacturers were not able to hold the momentum through 2016, as well. Last year, Xiaomi, dubbed Apple of China ranked as the 5th smartphone manufacturer in the country, say IDC analysts.
The company’s sales were overtaken by the genuine Apple which ranked as 4th largest smartphone distributor in China in 2016. Hence, Xiaomi’s 41.5 million units sold nationwide were no match for the Cupertino-based company’s sales, which came close to 50 million shipped to China alone, regarded as the largest phone market in the world.
However, in 2016, both companies recorded a significant drop in their sales. Hence, last year Apple dropped the ball from its 2015 58.4 million units. At the same time, Xiaomi also experienced hindered sales of its handsets and dropped from 64 million units sold in 2015 to 41.5 in 2016. In percentage points, Apple recorded a 23 percent drop, while Apple of China took a 35 percent dive.
Oppo exceeded all expectations and managed to ship no less than 78.4 million units, more than doubling the 35.4 million figure of 2015. Huawei came in second place with 76 million handsets, and Vivo almost managed to double its sales, going from 35 million in 2015 to 69 million in 2016.
Interestingly enough, Apple’s sales continue to drop, even though the Cupertino-based giant made countless efforts to try and get a better grip on the Chinese market. Last year, the company opened a research center in Shenzen and unveiled the iOS 10’s China-focused features. Furthermore, Apple also invested $1 billion in Didi Chuxing, U.S.’ Uber equivalent in China. Some regarded this move as an attempt to butter up the Chinese government.
However, IDC says that Apple’s decline is not necessarily linked to its competitors in China, but rather that Chinese are holding out for the company’s 10-year anniversary iPhone. In the meantime, the Apple of China is looking to expand to the U.S. and is doubling down on China, as well as developing markets like Brazil. The company originally gained popularity for online flash sales of its quality-on-a-budget smartphones. However, Xiaomi has been lately struggling to keep up with a gang of competitors that have adopted the same tactics.
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