For the first time ever, Oppo has become the best-selling mobile phone manufacturer in China, which put Huawei to the second place. This is the result of two factors: Oppo’s rise and Huawei’s decline.

Oppo’s Rise

According to Counterpoint Research, Oppo managed to capture 21 percent of the world’s biggest smartphone market in January, ahead of Vivo and Huawei, which both achieved 20 percent. Apple and Xiaomi rounded out the top five with 16 percent each.

Oppo has beaten all smartphone brands across China and has been a huge hit in the last few months.

Counterpoint Research says, Oppo sales increased 26% year-on-year compared to the same month in 2020. Sales of Oppo smartphones also increased by 33% compared to December 2020.

Oppo launched the midrange Oppo A72 5G in July last year, and at the same time began eating into Huawei sales. In December 2020, Oppo also launched the Reno Series 5, which solidifies its position as the number one smartphone maker in China, according to GSMArena. The publication believes that 5G smartphones will account for 65% of all units sold in China in the Q4 of 2020. The company can procure 4G chips, but for 5G phones, it has to rely on the chips it had in stock before the market regulations began. As a result, Huawei has turned its focus to the high-margin (but low-volume) premium market.


Huawei’s Decline

The US trade ban on Huawei has had a very direct impact on its sales in China. Counterpoint Research currently estimates that Huawei’s Chinese market share fell to 16% in January 2021.

Huawei’s decision to sell the Honor brand contributed to the decline, but Counterpoint blamed declining sales to US regulations. Due to the lack of parts such as processors and 5G modems, Huawei is concentrating on premium, small phones such as the Mate 40 Pro to take full advantage of its limited inventory.

Huawei’s decline was beneficial to Xiaomi. Xiaomi is digging into Huawei’s online business as the company and the BBK brand move forward in different directions, Oppo and Vivo are concentrating in offline sales.

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