Trump’s tough talk may crush Chinese vendors’ US plans

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The worldwide smartphone market continues to show healthy growth, with quarterly shipments passing 400 million units for the first time in the last quarter of 2016. While the top five vendors remain the same as Q3 2016, Apple replaced Samsung at the head of the market.

Apple managed to grow its volumes by 5%, shipping 78 million iPhones in the quarter to move past Samsung. Samsung, which was the only vendor in the top five to see a shipment decline, had settle for second place after shipping around 77 million units. Third-placed Huawei grew 39% to reach 45 million units, exceeding a 10% market share for the first time this quarter. Oppo and Vivo rounded out the top five, as BBK Electronics’ top brands maintained their pressure on the leading trio. Oppo shipped 29 million units, up 70%, while Vivo grew 96% to ship 22 million units.

“Smartphone shipments in China grew by over 14% year on year. It remains far and away the largest market, accounting for over 30% of the worldwide market in Q4 2016. Huawei, Oppo and Vivo are increasingly making their presence felt internationally, with their combined global market share reaching 24%, up from 16% in the same quarter a year ago,” said Mo Jia, Canalys Research Analyst. “But success in the US continues to evade these leading Chinese players. President Trump’s tough talk on trade with China, including the threat of harsh tariffs, paints a bleak picture for Chinese vendors looking to the US for growth. It also raises questions for the future of Lenovo and ZTE, which have seen their share of the US market grow to around 10%.”

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“Samsung’s problems with the Note7 contributed to its worldwide market share falling below 20% in Q4, its lowest point since Q2 2011,” said Ben Stanton, Canalys Analyst. “This played into the hands of Apple, which saw seasonal shipments of the iPhone 7 reach 78 million units, taking it into first place, a position it has not held since Q4 2014 and the launch of the iPhone 6.”

Smartphone quarterly estimates and forecast data are taken from Canalys’ Smartphone Analysis serv