Not so long ago, HUAWEI was at the height of its smartphone game, launching phones that led the industry in terms of innovation and experience, while also covering the budget segment with affordable phones. The company even managed to overshadow Apple, breathing down Samsung’s neck for the crown of global smartphone industry dominance. Not least thanks to strict trade sanctions, the company’s assets have plummeted The Chinese smartphone manufacturer OPPO seems to have used the opportunity a little too well – it has risen to the top of the Chinese market.
Rivals at home will continue to benefit from HUAWEI’s lost ground
According to Counterpoint Research, OPPO became the leader in the Chinese smartphone market for the first time in January 2021, with a market share of 21%. OPPO rose to the peak, achieving a monthly growth of 33% and a year-over-year growth of 26% compared to the same month last year. It was followed by Vivo with 20%, while Xiaomi took third place with a market share of 16%.
The rivals grew when HUAWEI lost the 5G phone race
The growth of OPPO – and that of its competitors too – is at the expense of HUAWEI, which is struggling to source 5G components in a market where 65% of all phones sold in the fourth quarter of 2020 were 5G-enabled. And it seems that for HUAWEI, these issues are not going away anytime soon.
|“Xiaomi benefits most from the decline in HUAWEI’s online share, while OPPO and vivo are conquering the offline segment. In its prime, HUAWEI had more than 10,000 retail and experience stores across China. That number has been going down since the fourth quarter of 2020. HUAWEI has also spun off HONOR as an independent brand. Since HONOR is now viewed as an independent brand, HUAWEI’s market share in China will be further reduced. “|
The sale of HONOR saved the sub-brand, but came at the expense of the lost market share
With the departure of its sub-brand HONOR, HUAWEI has now shifted its attention to the premium segment, which includes the flagships of the P-series and Mate. And while the profit margins are high, the shipping numbers are much lower compared to phones in the budget segment – which only means that HUAWEI’s market share will continue to shrink. Counterpoint Research predicts that key competitors – OPPO, Xiaomi, and Vivo – will continue to grow at the expense of HUAWEI’s demise.
The road ahead is not bright for the restless society
The company has attempted to get its name off the entity list, which essentially prevents US companies from trading with HUAWEI without a special license, but the company has not yet had any success. And until that situation improves, the doors to the supply chain industry – especially those with roots in the United States – as well as access to the Google ecosystem for services will remain closed.
Speaking of a silver lining in the midst of all the suffering, HONOR could revive its destiny now that it is no longer linked to HUAWEI. In fact, HONOR CEO George Zhao recently hinted that the company’s partnership with Google could be resumed soon.
In the meantime, HUAWEI continues to focus on developing AppGallery – its own app repository based on the core of HUAWEI Mobile Services (HMS) after access to GMS (Google Mobile Services) was denied – and therefore access on major Google services such as Maps, Gmail, and Play Store, to name a few. As AppGallery continues to add more apps and developers, the company also has ambitious plans for its in-house HarmonyOS, which will include a wide range of products ranging from phones and computer machines to home appliances and automobiles.
I’ve been writing about consumer technology for over three years, having worked with names like NDTV and Beebom in the past. Leaving the latest news aside, I’ve checked out my fair share of devices that range from smartphones and laptops to smart home devices. I’ve also interviewed tech managers and appeared as a host on YouTube videos talking about the latest and greatest gadgets.