Chinese children are driving wearable tech in China

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Image credit: Qihoo 360

Chinese children, who are going online at an increasingly younger age, are becoming a new pillar of growth in China’s smart wearable industry.

According to a third-quarter report by market intelligence firm the International Data Corporation (IDC), China’s smart wearables shipments reached 14.5 million in the third quarter, up 13% year-on-year.

Xiaomi topped the list with more than 4 million shipments and a 30% share of the market. The Chinese consumer electronics giant was followed by Huawei, BBK Electronic, Qihoo 360, and Continental Wireless.

While Xiaomi held the lion’s share of the smart wearable market, consumer electronics manufacturer BKK Electronics saw the highest growth rates in smartwatch shipments, jumping 64% year-on-year.

More commonly known as the company behind rising domestic smartphone brands like Vivo and Oppo, BBK Electronics tapped the kid’s smartwatch market in 2015 with the launch of Little Genius Y1, a watch featuring video calling, geo-fencing, and GPS tracking functions.

A series of competitors, including Sogou, Huawei, Xiaomi, Qihoo 360, and Continental Wireless, have entered the vertical since then. The overall shipment volume of children’s smartwatches maintained a high growth rate from the third quarter of 2017 to the second quarter of 2018, according to a report by Sino Market Research.

In addition to smart device manufacturers, chipmakers have also set their sights on the burgeoning market. In June this year, Qualcomm launched a chip tailored for children’s smartwatches.

However, the market is only gaining traction in China. “It is a growing market segment, but not a growing worldwide segment. The majority of the kid-watch volume is taking place in China,” SCMP cites IDC analyst Ramon Llamas as saying earlier this year.

A number of factors could explain this phenomenon, including China’s increasingly tech-savvy population, particular parenting styles, and rising child-trafficking concerns.