(Yicai Global) Jan. 29 -- China's smartphone makers suffered their worst setback ever last year as annual shipments tumbled to the lowest since 2013.
Shipments slumped 14 percent to 396 million units, marking a second consecutive year of declines, according to a report by Singapore-based global technology market analytics firm Canalys.
Manufacturers turned in diverse performances. Huawei Technologies still ranks first for handset shipments, with a market share of 27 percent and a growth rate of 16 percent, while Vivo Communication Technology gained 9 percent to take third place, Phoenix New Media's online tech news site Tech.ifeng reported. Oppo Electronics stayed second, but dipped 2 percent. Xiaomi and Apple limped in at fourth and fifth, down 6 percent and 13 percent, respectively.
The only international brand in the country's top five, Apple's sales have slid in China for three straight years, with its market share teetering now at a mere 9 percent after a dramatic drop from 14.3 percent in 2015, when it was in third slot, data from research and statistics portal Statista indicate.
High prices of newly debuted iPhones are the main factor underlying Apple's falling deliveries. Yet its shipments also failed to revive after it cut the prices of its new products. The US company is squaring off against ever more powerful contenders in China, where its public image as cock of the walk is also slipping, a Canalys analyst said.
China's smartphone market has embarked on an era of oligopoly. Leading players aside, orders to small and mid-sized manufacturers also dropped 60 percent overall last year.
The nation's smartphone market will continue depressed this year, Canalys predicts, with deliveries further sliding about 3 percent to 385 million units, per the report.
Editor: Ben Armour