CHINA CALLING

Like in India, the Chinese are taking over Bangladesh’s phone market, too

Quartz india
Quartz india

Chinese smartphone makers are winning everywhere.

After having beaten Samsung in India, they are now sweeping through Bangladesh. Local brand Symphony’s sales declined 48% year-on-year and 37% quarter-over-quarter, latest International Data Corporation (IDC) data show. Though it still maintained its lead with a 29% share, its stronghold is weakening.

During the same period, Shenzhen-based Transsion bagged the second spot with its sales rising by 14% between the third and fourth quarters of 2017. Samsung fell to the third position.

In a country with 147 million mobile phone subscribers, over 10 million use smartphones. Although feature phones still dominate—they account for two-thirds of all phone sales in Bangladesh—smartphones recorded a massive 20.6% annual growth at the end of 2017. IDC estimates that 8.1 million smartphones were sold in the country in 2017 alone. A total of 34.2 millions phones were sold over the last year.

The collective market share of Chinese companies climbed up significantly to 33% in the last quarter of 2017 from 19% in the previous year. During the same period, local companies’ share fell by over 20 percentage points.

“A high specification product line-up, aggressive pricing, and heavy marketing spend helped China-based companies to get a quick share in the Bangladesh market,” the report said. The same strategies also put the players on top in markets like India and Africa.

And their win is Samsung’s loss.

Like in India, the world’s second-largest smartphone market, the Korean tech giant is losing ground across the border, too. Eight-year-old Chinese brand Xiaomi now leads in India’s smartphone segment with a 27% share, versus Samsung’s 25%.

In any case, the space is only going to heat up further. “China-based companies will continue to spend on marketing and channel expansion,” Jaipal Singh, senior market analyst at IDC India, said about Bangladesh’s market. “Some more are expected to make their entry in the country which will intensify the competitive landscape.”

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