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Domestic handset market expects 2021 boom

By MA SI | China Daily | Updated: 2021-04-07 09:48

A woman passes a Huawei outlet in Beijing on Oct 11. [Photo/Agencies]

Liu Bo, president of Oppo China, said the company aims to be one of the three major players that dominate the $600-and-above market in the future. The other two players are Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd.

In March, Oppo also unveiled its latest premium smartphone series the Find X3. The smartphone model is expected to be Oppo's biggest-ever push to grow its share in the premium smartphone segment.

Varun Mishra, senior analyst at Counterpoint Research said: "Oppo has been successfully able to reposition its product lines in 2020. The rebranding of the Reno series and launching a more capable device at a lower price point than its predecessor helped Oppo capture the affordable premium segment. The strong momentum of the company's A series in the midrange segment strengthened the product portfolio for Oppo and it was able to cater to the 5G demand in China across a wide price band. This was further helped by the decline of Huawei."

In the face of such intensified competition, Honor-a brand that gained independence from Huawei in November-is devoting its resources to regain lost market share.

Zhao Ming, CEO of Honor, said the company plans to be among the world's top 500 companies as it fast tracks efforts to grow its presence in the high-end smartphone segment and open more offline retail stores.

Honor aims to reach annual revenue exceeding 100 billion yuan soon, Zhao said, but he did not disclose more details including its top line last year. Before Huawei sold Honor in November, Honor's annual shipments of smartphones once exceeded 70 million units.

Zhao said Honor will launch a high-end flagship smartphone series Magic, which will reach or even surpass the level of Huawei's premium Mate and P series smartphones.

He said that although only two generations of Magic smartphones have been unveiled in the past four years, Honor has invested a lot of money in these two phones. In the future, the Magic series will continue to be positioned for exploring new technologies.

"We will continue listening to consumer preferences while leveraging our technological edge to meet demand at the same time," Zhao said. On March 23, Honor unveiled its latest 5G smartphone-the Honor V40 Lite Luxury Edition-featuring slim design and fast charging technologies.

The senior executive said Honor will also further expand its retail footprint in the country by setting up offline stores in more cities. The plan came after Honor had opened more than 2,300 offline stores as of the end of 2019.

Jian Qin, deputy general manager of China Mobile, the world's largest telecom operator by mobile subscribers, said: "This year will see explosive growth of 5G smartphones. We forecast that over 350 million units of smartphones will be sold in China and 280 million units of them will be 5G handsets. We think nearly 300 million users on our telecom network may upgrade to 5G."

High enthusiasm for 5G smartphones are also becoming more evident. Chinese smartphone vendor Realme said on social media platform Weibo last month that Realme GT earned in excess of 100 million yuan in just 10 seconds on the first day of its sales on March 10.

But the fast rhythm of new 5G smartphones popping up in the market is sometimes overwhelming consumers.

Zhang Wentao, a white-collar employee in Beijing, is searching for a new 5G smartphone.

"So many new phones have come out and some of them look very similar. I am a bit confused. I will try three of most popular models and pick one," Zhang said.

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