Smartphone brands ramp up rivalry amid Huawei ban
Published: Jan 12, 2021 08:58 PM

Oppo introduces Oppo X 2021 rollable concept smartphone during the Inno Day 2020 in Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong Province on Tuesday. Photo: Li Xuanmin/GT

Chinese smartphone brands, including Xiaomi, Vivo, Oppo and Transsion, are expanding globally in recent months as they compete for the new 5G wave and the market shares formerly held by Huawei, the Chinese technology giant facing a US government ban of American semiconductor supplies.

Oppo, based in Dongguan, South China's Guangdong Province, is hiring staff to start production at one of its two planned facilities in Turkey at the end of this month, the Turkish language daily Dünya reported on Saturday.

Oppo's two facilities in Turkey, one in Istanbul's Tuzla district and one in neighboring Kocaeli province, will carry out the entire manufacturing process, including assembly. The factory plans to produce selected models for Turkey as well as for export, mainly to the European market, the report said.

Another Dongguan-based smartphone maker -- Vivo -- announced its entry into six European countries, namely Poland, Germany, France, Spain, Italy and the UK in October 2020, and cooperated with the UEFA to become the official global partner of the European Cup.

Vivo also released a series of smartphones including the X51 5G and two wireless headset products for European market.

Transsion, a Shenzhen-based phone vendor, led the African market with a 40-percent-plus share in the third quarter of 2020. The company also led the markets in Bangladesh and Pakistan, according to a statement it sent to the Global Times, citing IDC data.

Apple and Samsung have also benefited from Huawei's "forced strategic retreat" at the global mobile phone market, Ma Jihua, a veteran industry analyst, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Huawei, the Chinese technology giant that had been on its way to overtake Samsung as the world's No.2 smartphone maker, has been mired in US government sanctions over the past year, forcing it to halt its overseas foray.

Regarding the annual global ranking of smartphone brands for 2021, Huawei will experience a further and significant decline in mobile device shipments. This is because of the effects of the US supply restrictions and the spin-off of Honor brand as a separate entity operating in the smartphone market, TrendForce said in a report it sent to the Global Times.

Huawei is projected to tumble from third place in 2020 to seventh place in 2021. The top six for 2021, in order, will be Samsung, Apple, Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo and Transsion. Together, they will account for 80 percent of the global smartphone market, said the report.

However, Ma said that for domestic phone makers, the most urgent thing will still be research and development of key technologies. 

"Without key technologies, Chinese smartphone makers will be stuck in the low- or middle-end markets, rather than take on industry leaders such as Apple."

Ma also said the new Honor, the budget brand that was sold by Huawei, will also be a strong competitor, since it might take advantage of the sales channels that Huawei built up overseas and grab Huawei's market share at home and abroad.