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Chinese brands control a fourth of the world’s fastest-growing smartphone market

Quartz india
Quartz india

Chinese mobile phone makers are steadily increasing their presence in the world’s second-largest smartphone market.

In the last year, the market share of Chinese smartphone brands in India has increased to 27% from just 19%, according to market intelligence firm Counterpoint Research.

“Chinese smartphone makers have become aggressive about India in the last few years. That’s because India is a big smartphone market that is growing at a fast pace and all global players want to benefit from that,” said Tarun Pathak, senior telecom analyst at Counterpoint Research. “Chinese companies have launched several new models in India and they are spending aggressively on marketing.”

The leading Chinese smartphone brands in India are Lenovo, Vivo, Oppo, Xiaomi and LeEco.

Domestic brands—like Micromax, Intex, Lava and Karbonn—control nearly half of the Indian smartphone market and South Korea’s Samsung is the market leader.

In cost-sensitive India, nearly 70% of the smartphone sales are in the affordable—under Rs10,000 ($150)—category. Most of the Indian brands have succeeded because of their focus on this popular category.

Chinese companies are creating a new niche by catering to the under-served Rs10,000-25,000 market. They are trying to upgrade users of affordable smartphones to this mid-segment.

“While many Indian manufacturers are focused on selling affordable devices to first-time smartphone users, Chinese companies are going after buyers who already have a phone, but may be willing to upgrade at a little extra cost,” Pathak of Counterpoint Research said. Given China’s manufacturing prowess, the design and look of Chinese smartphones is superior to Indian models, Pathak said.

“India as a market is growing and there’s space for everyone. So we won’t be surprised if Chinese brands keep increasing their marketshare,” Pathak said.

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