(Yicai Global) Oct. 27 -- China’s smartphone market slightly picked up in the third quarter from a quarter earlier, buoyed by Apple’s new iPhone 14 debut, but it will take time to reach the levels seen before the Covid-19 pandemic.
From July to September, the Asian country's smartphone shipments tallied 70 million units, up by 4 percent from the second quarter but down 11 percent from a year ago, according to Singapore-based market research institute Canalys.
Next year, China’s smartphone market will probably turn out similar to this year, or slightly improve, but still remain below pre-Covid-19 levels, said Zhu Jiatao, an analyst at Canalys.
However, in the fourth quarter, the huge iPhone shipment volumes and the upcoming online shopping festival could boost the performance, Zhu added. Chinese e-commerce platforms celebrate Double 11 in November with discounts.
As the demand weakens, Chinese handset makers are transforming to turn their product portfolios more high-end while profitability is becoming a more important aspect in product development, operations, and sales channels, Zhu said.
In the third quarter, Vivo Communication Technology continued to top the list of handset makers in China with 14.1 million shipments. Oppo Mobile Communications was No. 2 with its 12.1 million units, down by 27 percent from a year earlier. Honor, which was spun off from Huawei Technologies, ranked third with 12 million units, or 16 percent lower.
Apple was the only smartphone vendor in the top five to achieve year-over-year growth. Its volume of shipments jumped by 36 percent to 11.3 million units, surpassing Xiaomi to rank fourth. Xiaomi’s shipments dropped by 17 percent to 9 million units.
Consumers’ strong demand for the new iPhone 14 Pro handsets helped the American tech giant achieve growth, but the basic version of the phone series showed weak market performance, said Liu Yixuan, an analyst. Competing with Android phone manufacturers, Apple had to adopt a more aggressive promotion strategy with its entry-level models, Liu added.
Editor: Emmi Laine, Xiao Yi