Apple Tops, Surprising #2 in China’s 2023 Phone Market

Chinese Smartphone Market Report 2023

Next month is the Chinese New Year, and many people might be thinking about getting a new phone before the Spring Festival holiday. So, which smartphone brands performed well in 2023 and which ones didn’t live up to expectations? Let’s take a look today.

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According to the recent data released by the authoritative research firm Counterpoint Research, Apple dominated the Chinese smartphone market in 2023, capturing a 17.9% market share and maintaining its position as the most profitable brand. The surprise came in the second place, with the low-profile brand Vivo securing a 16.9% market share, closely followed by Oppo with 16.2%. Every time I see the two major brands, OV, I’m reminded of Transsion, which quietly amassed wealth in Africa – they are typical examples of “making a fortune quietly,” with modesty and only letting their achievements speak for themselves.

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Objectively, last year was a year of blossoming for Vivo. Not only did the X100 series, produced in collaboration with Carl Zeiss, sell well, but both the budget-friendly Vivo Y78+ and the high-end Vivo X Fold2 foldable phones performed impressively. The X100 Pro also firmly established itself as the flagship in terms of imaging, competing head-to-head with imaging phones like the Oppo Find X7 Pro, Honor Magic6 Pro, Xiaomi 13 Ultra, and Huawei Mate60 Pro.

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Interestingly, Huawei and Xiaomi, which have been highly acclaimed in the past, did not secure the second position. Xiaomi held the fifth position with a 14.4% market share, while Huawei followed closely behind in sixth place with a 12.1% market share. Surprisingly, it was Honor, with a 15.7% market share, that ranked ahead of Xiaomi. It’s worth mentioning that the market share data in this list includes sub-brands, with Xiaomi including Redmi, Oppo including OnePlus, and Vivo including iQOO.

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However, Huawei is expected to bounce back stronger. Their popular Mate60 series, released through the “First Mover” plan at the end of August last year, mainly concentrated its sales in the fourth quarter and still hasn’t fully unleashed its production capacity. With Huawei’s production capacity expected to be unleashed in 2024, coupled with the release of the new P series this year, there is reason to believe that they will perform even better in 2024. As for Xiaomi, considering that Lei Jun’s focus in 2024 will be on Xiaomi’s automotive venture, there are some concerns regarding their performance.

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