While spearheading aggressive forays into overseas markets, Chinese smartphone brands are also taking a firmer hold of the domestic market and eating into the shares of multinational phone makers like Apple and Samsung.

In 2016, a total of 559.7 million mobile phones were shipped in China, up 8.0% from the previous year, according to a report from the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT). The number of new model releases reached 1,446, down 3.3 percent year over year (YOY).

Source: CAICT

Of the total amount, local smartphone makers have shipped 497.8 million units in 2016, up 16.1% YOY. The figure accounts for 88.9% of the domestic mobile phone shipments, higher than 85.0% one year ago.

The CAICT report shows that the number of new models released by local brands (1381 units) decreased by 2.5% YOY and represented 95.5% of the total number of new model release in the domestic market.

In wake of the smart and well-connected trend of phones, the market share of 4G and smart devices grow stably.

The country’s smartphone shipments surged 14.0% YOY to 521.6 million units in 2016, representing 93.2% of the total domestic mobile phone. Android still dominates China’s smartphone market with 425.4 million units shipped were based on the operating system.

A total 519.4 million or 92.8% of the total shipments in China support 4G networks, up 18.0 percent YOY.

The growth of local companies like Oppo and Vivo were the main contributors to the swift rise in shipments from domestic companies; both Oppo and Vivo drove sales with extensive offline retail outlets as well as innovations in design and key features.

Data from research institute Counterpoint shows that Oppo and Vivo have taken the top two spots in China’s smartphone market with 17% and 16% share respectively in Q3 2016, biting into the shares of Samsung, Lenovo, Xiaomi, Coolpad and Apple.

Source: Counterpoint

Apart from domestic market, Chinese smartphone brands are expanding quickly in overseas markets like Southeast Asia, Middle East, and Africa. In India, for instance, Chinese brands grabbed 50% of the $10-billion Indian smartphone market in 2016, biting into sales from top-selling competitors like Samsung.

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Emma Lee

Emma Lee (Li Xin) was TechNode's e-commerce and new retail reporter until June 2022, when she moved to Sixth Tone to cover technology and consumption. Get in touch with her via lixin@sixthtone.com or Twitter.