Vivo, Gionee, Xiaomi gain big: Chinese phones are killing India's brands

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Chinese mobile phone brands are booming in India, for the first time ever making up more than half – 51 per cent – of new devices in the world’s second largest smartphone market.

Meanwhile, Indian brands dropped below 20 per cent market share of shipments in November, according to Counterpoint Research, plummeting from 40 per cent in early 2016.

Local brands have been facing increasingly stiff competition from Chinese brands that are affordable.

Counterpoint research analyst Karn Chauhan says most Chinese brands are in the $75-200 price segment. As per market share data for the September quarter, Xiaomi has pushed out local players and now dominates this segment, along with Samsung. Those budget phones have seen a growth of over 45 per cent in the past year.

The biggest gainers were China’s Vivo and Gionee, making mid-range – $250-450 – phones, a segment that soared by over 150 per cent.

Micromax and Intex suffered as they cater to sub-$90 price range phones, where sales were flat at the end of September.

Karn feels the tide has changed in favour of Chinese brands in just a couple of months. “This shows volatility of the Indian smartphone market, and next year, there will be significant pressure on Samsung to protect its market share from the onslaught of these Chinese brands,” he explains.

Smartphone shipments in India hit a record 35 million in the September quarter due to increased demand from retailers readying for the festive season. Chinese brands such as Lenovo, Xiaomi, Vivo, and Oppo collectively cornered 32 per cent of the smartphone market.

Xiaomi in October said it sold more than 1 million smartphones in India in the first 18 days of the month. .

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