China will cement its position as the global smartphone leader this year with manufacturers from the region expected to take a combined 54-percent of the market share, according to prominent research firm TrendForce. That's in spite of the fact that the market itself predicted to remain flat, with only slight growth due to slowing momentum across the industry. The country's OEMs have made substantial gains over the past several years, replaced company's from Korea and the U.S. at the top for at least the past year. That's down to the active pursuit of new consumers in untapped markets and expansion into new regions. However, brands from the area have also upended previous rankings through rapid deployment and simplification of retail and digital sales channels. Most importantly, TrendForce says, those companies have developed a reputation for high-value products that offer consumers a lot of performance and features for less money than the competition. That's helped by a wider than average diversity of products at equally diverse prices.
Moving forward, the firm goes further to predict that further increases in competitiveness will be driven by consumers upgrading less frequently, resulting in the consolidation of brands in the market. Now, nearly two-thirds of Chinese smartphone shipments are from Huawei, Xiaomi, OPPO, and Vivo according to TrendForce. That number will likely grow for those particular companies as pressure increases for smaller players, forcing many to leave the industry. Subsequently, the growth of the Chinese smartphone manufacturers themselves nearly matches that seen amongst international brands. That's a trend that's not expected to come to an end in the near future and TrendForce predicts that the market share is going to remain mostly flat from 2018 through 2019 as well.
Meanwhile, the market itself has not necessarily been stable between any given quarterly periods. For example, the first quarter of 2018 saw smartphone shipments drop year-over-year for China by an around 21-percent. Bearing that in mind, the growth seen amongst those OEMs has been comparatively good. On the other hand, the markets for other technologies, including those related to cellular manufacturing, have grown. That trajectory is expected to continue in spite of decreases in demand in those areas of the industry too.