Samsung Electronics is now down to 2.2 percent of China's smartphone market, according to the latest data compiled by Kantar Worldpanel. In the three-month period ending October 31st, the South Korean tech giant had its performance deteriorate even more and is now on track to drop below two percentage points in the final quarter of the calendar year, as recently predicted by Strategy Analytics. Whereas China is still the world's largest smartphone market that attracted countless original equipment manufacturers in recent years, it's now showing signs of maturing as major phone makers have already established their brands and products. Save for the fact that Xiaomi managed to overtake Apple as the fourth largest smartphone vendor in the country, no major changes have been recorded over the course of this year and the big five now accounts for 91 percent of all sales in the country, a significant increase compared to 79 percent in 2016.
Huawei, OPPO, Vivo, Xiaomi, and Apple are expected to additionally strengthen their already entrenched positions in China and any smaller OEMs are unlikely to be able to displace them in the foreseeable future. Having held approximately a fifth of the local market half a decade ago, Samsung's fall from grace in China is generally attributed to a combination of factors. The company's insistence on healthy profit margins initially saw it decline when faced with competition from phone makers with aggressive pricing strategies seeking to provide consumers with high value for money. Additionally, Samsung's brand isn't as strong as it used to be in China due to an anti-Korean sentiment propagated by some state-sponsored media in the country which is believed to stem from tensions between the two Far Eastern world powers over Seoul's deployment of the U.S. THAAD missile defense system at its border with North Korea.
Samsung is presently trying to navigate the complex political landscape in the country by financially supporting some Chinese AI startups, thus contributing to Beijing's AI-focused tech policy. That strategy has yet to deliver any palpable results, with Samsung now being a largely marginalized OEM in the country that's much closer to the likes of Lenovo, Meizu, ZTE, and Coolpad than Huawei or Xiaomi in terms of market share.