(Yicai Global) Aug. 1 -- Competition in China's smartphone market has intensified over the years, with major home-grown brands outpacing their foreign rivals to now occupy all three top spots in the world's largest market.
Competitors, they are also partners who learn from each other.
Huawei Technologies Co. ranked as the number one smartphone brand in the country in the second quarter, claiming a 69 percent market share, together with the other three popular Chinese manufacturers, Guangdong Oppo Mobile Communications Co, Vivo Communication Technology Co. and Xiaomi Corp, noted Hong Kong-based market research agency Counterpoint.
Apple Inc. [NASDAQ:AAPL] dropped to fifth place with a market share of 8.2 percent, and Samsung Electronics Co. [KS:005930] has dropped from the top-five rankings list.
Chinese companies are adept at learning from one other, but their foreign counterparts are less flexible, James Yan, Counterpoint's research director, told Yicai Global.
"For example, Huawei has been learning from Xiaomi for its online marketing concepts, and Xiaomi studied the offline sales channel strategy of Oppo, who in turn drew lessons from Huawei's focused business development philosophy," Yan said.
Huawei's consumer business group chief executive, Yu Chengdong, told Yicai Global, his company is a 'competitor-driven' business. It first defeated foreign competitors like Ericsson [NASDAQ:ERIC] and Nokia Corp. on the business-to-business market, and then spun off Huawei Honor as an independent unit following Xiaomi's rise, outstripping its competitors in sales one after another.
Both Xiaomi and Huawei have learned from their rivals with an open mind, especially from Oppo's and Vivo's marketing approach.
"Their style of marketing enabled Oppo and Vivo to tighten their grip on sales channels," opined Jin Ruizhao, associate research director at the communications department of GFK Group China, "They've successfully established a strong presence in rural markets leveraging their store decor, sales team training and inventory control strengths."
As competitors, though, all market leaders believe they are better than other brands. Yu Chengdong confronted Xiaomi at its semi-annual report release conference, saying that the company is targeting USD15 billion (CNY100 billion) in sales this year, and Huawei has already delivered CNY105.4 billion in sales in the first half.
Huawei should be grateful to Xiaomi, because it knew nothing about 'internet thinking', and were it not for Xiaomi's successful online marketing, Huawei would not have possibly become what it is today, Xiaomi's founder Lei Jun once publicly stated.