China-Mobile-AH

Fight For Far Eastern Phone Market Share Getting Intense

March 28, 2016 - Written By Dominik Bosnjak

According to recent reports from Strategy Analytics, largest smartphone manufacturers in the world are still having trouble with establishing a significant foothold in the Asian markets this year. Their biggest two challenges thus far have been China and India, i.e. the largest and one of the fastest-growing markets therefore, the most promising markets in the world right now. The fight for market share got especially intense after the general growth of the said market showed signs of significantly slowing down. The global smartphone market is thus expected to only grow 8 percent in 2016, after recording a 13 percent growth last year.

And while China-specific predictions remain pretty true to the declining global trend, that market remains one of the most interesting to manufacturers solely due to its size. On the other hand, forecasts remain optimistic for India whose smartphone market is expected to grow about 26 percent in 2016. In other words, while generally speaking there won’t be as many new opportunities to sell smartphones this year in comparison to 2015, all of the big brands have high hopes and aspirations regarding the markets in the Far East. Apple’s recently revealed iPhone SE is precisely one such device aimed at emerging markets – it’s mid-range specs and a $399 price tag should be well-received in China and India, or at least, that’s what the US company is hoping for. On the other hand, Samsung is also planning to launch more new low-end devices running Tizen open-source OS in China and India. The South Korean smartphone manufacturer is especially desperate about China in which it’s currently only the sixth largest manufacturer with just 7.7 percent of market share. Competing with domestic producers like Huawei, Oppo, and Xiaomi proved to be no easy feat for Samsung.

The situation in India is a bit less grim for global manufacturers as the largest domestic firm Micromax has recently been going through some troubled times and the former largest smartphone maker in India now only occupies 13.2 percent of the market which is just a bit more than Lenovo (11%) and a lot less than Samsung (26.1%). Micromax is not the only currently declining Indian smartphone manufacturer as the likes Intex, Karbonn, and Lava have also not been achieving stellar results and their combined market share in the country fell to 43% by the end of Q4 2015, down from 48% in 2014. In any case, the fight for Indian and Chinese smartphone markets in 2016 is likely to be more intense than it ever was and it remains to be seen which range of devices will prove the be the tipping point for the eventual winner, even though odds are once again on the side of the mid-range phone spectrum.