China Smartphone Shipments Hit 438M, Xiaomi Tops With 15% Share

Smartphone shipments in China grew 3% annually to hit a record 438 million units in 2015. Xiaomi maintained first position and captured 15% smartphone market share in the country, according to the latest research from Strategy Analytics.

"China smartphone shipments declined 4% annually from 123 million units in the fourth quarter 2014 to 117.9 million in the fourth quarter 2015," says Linda Sui, director at Strategy Analytics.

"China smartphone growth is slowing due to market saturation, inventory build and economic headwinds. However, for the full year, China smartphone shipments grew 3% annually from 423.6 million units in 2014 to a record 437.8 million in 2015," Sui adds.

Huawei shipped 17.9 million smartphones for the number one spot in China in the fourth quarter 2015, growing 50% annually from 11.9 million units in the fourth quarter 2014.

Huawei has been growing rapidly in China due to extensive distribution channels and popular Android models like the Honor 7.

However, there are signs that Huawei’s growth is now starting to slow. Its annual growth rate of 50% declined sequentially from 73% in the prior quarter, as several major rivals like Apple and Xiaomi are fighting back.

Xiaomi shipped 17.5 million smartphones and captured 15% marketshare in China in the fourth quarter 2015, up 11% annually.

For the full year, Xiaomi shipped 67.5 million smartphones to claim the top position in 2015, just staying ahead of Huawei with 62.2 million units.

Xiaomi offers several popular Android models in China, such as the Redmi 2A.

Apple had a strong quarter in China, shipping a record 15.5 million iPhones in the fourth quarter 2015.

Apple solidified third position in China with 13% market share, up from 11% one year ago.

Apple has worked hard to extend its retailer coverage across China, while Apple Music and other localized services have refreshed the iOS ecosystem for Chinese consumers.

Vivo held on to fourth position with 10% smartphone market share in China during the fourth quarter 2015, while its shipment growth rate expanded a healthy 20% annually.

Another Chinese brand, OPPO, pushed into the top five China rankings for the first time ever, with 10.8 million smartphones shipped and 9% market share in the fourth quarter 2015.

The success of Vivo and OPPO lies in good hardware designs, robust product quality, strong retailer penetration, and rising brand awareness among mass-market consumers, says the report.