Chinese brands push out Apple for smartphone supremacy

  • Honor is now the best-selling smartphone brand in China, while Huawei has made significant gains in a short time.
  • Despite increasing pressure from the US, Huawei is now the second-best selling smartphone maker in China.
  • China is describing the latest sets of restrictions around Huawei as “economic bullying.”

According to an IDC report covering the first quarter of 2024, Honor has taken hold as the top-selling smartphone maker in China, perhaps the world’s most competitive smartphone market. The report sets out the top five best-selling brands in the market by market share.

Honor representatives told us that the market share surge is attributed to the popularity of the Magic 6 Series in China, which saw a 123.3 percent increase in year over year shipments. Honor also secured the second spot in foldable sales in the country.

The top five brands are Honor, Huawei, OPPO, Apple and Vivo, with all brands except for OPPO, Vivo and Apple seeing growth. The biggest winner has been Huawei, which has rocketed to the number two best-selling smartphone brand in China, despite all the pressures the United States has put on the company through its decisions.

Huawei went from only 8.6 percent of the marketshare to 17 percent in a single year, in contrast Apple went from 17.8 percent of the share, down to 15.6 percent.

Apple has fallen and fallen across the hearts, minds and wallets of Chinese customers. At one point in 2023, the brand enjoyed a nearly 20 percent market share in the country.

The two smartphone makers are caught in the crossfire of a tech cold war between the US and China, one that seems to only be heating up as time passes. The latest sees increasingly strict sanctions on US makers of processor chips from selling their stock to Chinese tech companies.

This revoking of licenses for US chip makers, like Intel, to send products to Chinese firms like Huawei, is hot on the heels of the launch of the MateBook X Pro at an event in the United Arab Emirates. The MateBook X Pro is powered by the latest Intel Ultra 9 processors.

America has long restricted technology exports to Huawei in particular, alleging that Huawei has ties to Chinese military. Beijing has described this latest series of bans by the US as “economic bullying.”

It will be interesting to see what Huawei manages to do in the future, now that some of its US partners are banned from exporting technology for its products. It may have to start building in-house chips, or import from Taiwan. But if the allegations are true, it won’t be doing that.

Despite the pressure, Huawei continues to grow.


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