iPhone Loses Top Spot In Chinese Smartphone Market to Oppo

Apple has fallen from the top spot as best-selling smartphone in China for the first time in five years, according to a new report from Counterpoint Research released last Friday (via CNBC).

According to the report, Apple’s sales in China have declined significantly, with Chinese brand Oppo now taking the top spot. Counterpoint Research mentions that the Oppo sold over 17 million units, or about 4% of total sales, of its flagship model, the Oppo R9, while Apple only managed to sell 12 million iPhones in the past year, or about 2% of total sales.

According to Counterpoint report, “Only five brands registered healthy growth during the full year 2016. Oppo, Huawei, vivo, Meizu and Gionee drove the majority of the volume, capturing a combined 58% of the total Chinese smartphone market in 2016. Demand for rest of the brands declined, especially last year’s star performers Xiaomi and Apple with lower-than-expected demand for their smartphones during the year.”

Apple came in fifth place for total smartphone unit shipments in China last year, with 10.4% market share, down from 14.3% in 2015. It trailed Huawei (16.4% market share), Oppo (15.5%), Vivo (13.9%) and Xiaomi (10.9%), detailed the report.

Oppo recorded the fastest growth among major vendors in China in 2016, with smartphone shipments up 109%. By contrast, Apple’s smartphone shipments in the country fell 21% last year, Counterpoint said.

Counterpoint said the overall demand for smartphones in China remained healthy during Q4 2016, with smartphone shipments up 12% annually and 9% sequentially driving the full year growth and record volumes.

“Apple still remains in a vulnerable position, and there is higher expectation already with next year’s flagship which is rumored to be a substantial upgrade from both design and components perspective,” the research says.

Back in November, Bloomberg profiled how Oppo’s smartphones managed to outsell Apple, citing low price points as factors, while also penetrating growing rural markets aggressively with dealers, outclassing Xiaomi as well.

Apple has never been about taking the greatest smartphone marketshare, as the company still generates the biggest profits from its iPhone sales.