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Market share for Samsung phones ticks up in China

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May 06,2019
Samsung Electronics shipped one million smartphones in China in the first quarter of 2019, giving it a 1.1 percent market share in the world’s largest market for the devices.

That is a significant achievement, considering that the Korean company’s market share in China in 2018 full year was 0.8 percent. Market share hit 0.7 percent in the second half.

Galaxy S10
Last year’s plummet to below 1 percent made headlines, as it was a first for the company. The retreat was especially alarming considering that Samsung was the dominant player in China just five years ago.

In 2013, it was the No. 1 smartphone brand in the country, with a 20-percent share. From there, the figure rapidly fell to below 10 percent in 2015 and then to 2.1 percent in 2017.

The Note 7 battery crisis, Korea’s deployment of the U.S.-led Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (Thaad) antimissile system and the advancements of China’s local brands are frequently cited as factors explaining Samsung’s fall in China.

Although the share remains small, the rebound echoes comments earlier this year by Koh Dong-jin, a Samsung Electronics president and smartphone business head.

“Response to the Galaxy S10 in China has been very good,” he said in March. “The mid-price Galaxy A series has also received a positive consumer response. We expect our flagship and mid-price models to bring many changes in our Chinese business.”

Local sales records indicate that early consumer reactions to the S10 have been better than their reaction to previous models. According to Suning, a Chinese electronics retailer, S10 preorders during the first 10 minutes were 365 percent higher than those for the Galaxy S9. Early sales volumes of the S10 are estimated to have been 20 percent higher than for the S9 in China.

In the global market, Samsung was still the No. 1 smartphone vendor in the year’s first quarter. Its share during the period was 21.7 percent, according to Strategy Analytics. But losing a grip in the world’s largest smartphone market is a major issue, as Chinese rivals are leveraging their home country base to rapidly expand their global presence.

Huawei, the leader in China, was ranked the second largest smartphone vendor in the world, with 17.9 percent market share, in the year’s first quarter. The company made the biggest jump among companies on the list, from 11.4 percent in the same period 2018.

In third place was Apple, at 13 percent.

The research firm also said that global smartphone shipments dipped 4 percent year on year, to 330.4 million units in first quarter of 2019, but added the market is likely to improve this year.

“Global smartphone shipments are finally showing signs of stabilizing, due to relatively improved demand in major markets, like China. The outlook for later this year is improving,” said Linda Sui, a director at Strategy Analytics.

BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [song.kyoungson@joongang.co.kr]


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