China’s smartphone market returned to growth for the first time in four years according to Canalys. Overall, smartphone shipments in China reached 92.4 million units in Q1 2021, representing an increase of 27% year over year (YoY). Canalys attributed the Q1 resurgence to an unusually high number of smartphone launches in the quarter and increased consumer appetite for Huawei alternatives.
Despite the growth of its biggest market, Huawei’s performance didn’t match up with its competitors. During the quarter, Huawei shipped 13.5 million smartphones in China, a 50% decline from the prior year—while the four other top vendors experienced double-digit growth. This decline moved Huawei, previously China’s No. 1 vendor by shipments with a 41% market share in Q1 2020, to the No. 3 spot with just 16% market share. This is bad news for Huawei, which became heavily reliant on mainland China for device sales because of trade restrictions with the US and other countries.
Huawei's decline amid the market’s return to growth has opened up space for the competition. Here’s how the other major players in China’s smartphone market fared this quarter:
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