TrendForce Says Huawei Led the Global Rise of Chinese Smartphone Brands in 2015 by Shipping Over 100 Million Units to Take No. 3 Worldwide

TAIPEI, Taiwan–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Global smartphone shipments for 2015 grew 10.3% year on year to 1.293
billion units, among which 539 million units came from Chinese vendors,
according to the latest reporting from the global market research firm
TrendForce. Chinese smartphone brands made big gains worldwide in 2015,
with their market share reaching a new high of over 40% and their
combined annual shipments growing above the global average. Chinese
smartphone makers also took seven of the top ten spots in the 2015
worldwide vendor ranking. Huawei in particular edged out Lenovo for the
first time to become the No. 3 vendor globally and the leading vendor in
China.

TrendForce smartphone analyst Avril Wu said: “Chinese vendors together
shipped 539 million units in 2015, while Samsung and Apple together
shipped a total of 547 million units. Collectively, Chinese vendors were
in a close match against the top two global brands. In 2016, TrendForce
expects Chinese vendors to take around 45% of the global market share,
with their shipments exceeding the combined shipments of Samsung and
Apple. This means that nearly one out of two smartphones sold by the top
ten vendors this year will come from a Chinese brand. In sum, major
international vendors are now facing a tougher market situation.”

Samsung suffered its first-ever annual shipment decline in 2015;
Apple still shines with stellar results

Samsung had a tough 2015. Besides missing its annual shipment targets
for Galaxy S6 and Note 5, the top global vendor also saw its global
market share fell to 25%, down from 28% in 2014. As Samsung continues to
cede grounds to Apple in the high-end market, it has retreated in face
of Chinese competition in the mid-range and low-end segments as well.
Hence, the vendor’s market share projections were revised downward
repeatedly throughout the year. According to TrendForce’s data, Samsung
smartphone shipments for 2015 totaled 320 million units. This figure
represented an annual decline of 1.8%, a historic first for the South
Korean vendor.

Apple retained its position as the No. 2 global vendor in 2015 with 227
million iPhones shipped, translating to an annual growth of 17.7% and a
17.5% worldwide market share. Strong sales of iPhone 6 and 6 Plus were a
major factor behind the sustained expansion in shipments. The 5.5-inch
model of iPhone 6 Plus in particular filled the gap for large-screen
smartphone in Apple’s product lineup. The successor model, iPhone 6s,
was released in September last year and featured upgraded processor
(Apple A9) and 3D Touch technology. However, it has not generated much
replacement demand as expected because its outward appearance is just
too similar to the preceding iPhone 6. Projections for iPhone 6s
shipments over 2016 are already seeing downward revisions, and
TrendForce anticipates Apple’s shipment growth for this year to be in
the single digit.

LG’s smartphone shipments for 2015 were average compared with the
impressive results it produced in 2014. Sales of G4, the vendor’s
flagship, have been disappointing since its release in the first half of
2015 because the model’s specs are too similar to its predecessor G3.
LG’s smartphone shipments began to pick up in the second half of 2015,
when it launched its other flagship, V10. Featuring a secondary display
and dual front cameras, V10 has been crucial to LG’s shipment recovery.
For 2015, LG shipped 68 million smartphones, up 7.9% year on year.

Huawei tops Chinese market with shipments surpassing 100 million for
the first time; other Chinese vendors also registered large shipment
growth

Huawei in recent years has invested heavily in R&D. With its
semiconductor subsidiary HiSilicon, Huawei is able to make its own
mobile processors and accumulate intellectual properties related to
mobile chipsets. As a result, Huawei has been able expand into foreign
markets while avoiding patent litigations with its competitors. The
Chinese vendor has also been able to match major international brands in
product quality and features. Huawei currently reserves its in-house
mobile processors, the Kirin series, for its high-end smartphones while
continuing to collaborate with Qualcomm and MediaTek in the mid-range
and low-end markets. Lastly, the vendor has also maintained good
relations with telecom operators worldwide.

Huawei’s smartphone shipments broke the 100 million unit mark for the
first time in 2015, arriving at 108 million units. With a huge annual
shipment growth of about 49%, Huawei replaced its compatriot rival
Lenovo as the world’s third largest smartphone vendor. The vendor’s
shipment target for 2016 is set at 130 million units.

Though known for offering products with high cost-performance ratios,
Xiaomi was unable to make significant headways in foreign markets during
2015. A major obstacle to Xiaomi’s overseas expansion plan is the lack
of intellectual properties, and this problem actually resulted in
several of the vendor’s smartphone models being banned in India.
Xiaomi’s position in the domestic market is also under threat as other
Chinese vendors adopt the same sales strategy it developed. The Mi Note
series was an opportunity for Xiaomi to move upmarket, but their sales
were lackluster. Beset by these challenges, Xiaomi failed to achieve its
annual shipment target of 100 million units. While the vendor’s
shipments for 2015 totaled just 72 million units, the year-on-year
growth rate reached at 17.8%. The vendor took fourth place in the 2015
global ranking.

Lenovo’s smartphone shipments surged in 2014 to almost 92 million units
in 2014 on account of its acquisition of Motorola’s smartphone unit.
However, the vendor’s shipments for 2015 are estimated to be around 70
million units, which also amount to a year-on-year drop of nearly 24%.
The projected results for 2015 indicate that the positive effect of
Lenovo-Motorola deal has yet to extend beyond the aggregation of
smartphone shipments from both brands. On other hand, Lenovo will carry
on with the restructuring of its smartphone business in 2016. By
focusing on innovative designs and closer collaboration with Google, the
Chinese vendor may have chance for a comeback this year.

For global and China’s smartphone ranking table and more details, please
visit http://press.trendforce.com/press/20160114-2265.html

About TrendForce (www.trendforce.com)

TrendForce is a global provider of the latest development, insight, and
analysis of the technology industry. Having served businesses for over a
decade, the company has built up a strong base membership base of
410,000 subscribers. TrendForce has established a reputation as an
organization that offers insightful and accurate analysis of the
technology industry through five major research divisions: DRAMXchange,
WitsView, LEDinside, EnergyTrend and Topology Research Institute.
Founded in Taipei, Taiwan in 2000, TrendForce has extended its presence
in China since 2004 with offices in Shenzhen and Beijing.

Contacts

TrendForce
Ms. Lilia Huang, +886-2-8978-6488 ext 660
LiliaHuang@TrendForce.com