Top smartphone vendors still have high hopes for Chinese market
Apple and Samsung, the world's two top smartphone vendors, have high hopes for the Chinese market, especially in the premium sector, although global sales continued to drop in the second quarter.
Apple announced on Friday a positive Chinese revenue mainly thanks to its iPhone business, while Samsung bet on high growth of the foldable model market where phones normally cost US$800 or above.
In the fiscal quarter that ended in July, Apple posted a 1.4 percent revenue drop globally, but China, its third-largest regional market, generated US$15.8 billion in the quarter, a 7.9 percent increase from a year ago.
"The drivers of that are we did really well in switchers for iPhone during the quarter," Apple's chief executive Tim Cook said. "We believe that we gained share in the smartphone industry for the quarter in China."
On Thursday night, Samsung Electronics launched two foldable models in China, making China one of the first regions for the Galaxy Z Fold5 and Z Flip5's global debuts. Their prices start at 7,499 yuan (US$1,046) in China.
The folding model is a trend in the smartphone industry to "reshape people's ways of interaction and lifestyles," TM Roh, Samsung Electronics China president, said at a conference in Changsha, Hunan Province.
Eva Li, a fan of trending gadgets, favored the Galaxy Z Flip with its light weight, small size and easy usage for selfies. She called its a "tech-savvy accessory" rather than just a phone.
In the high-end market of phones costing US$800 or more, foldable model sales now account for one third and are growing rapidly. In the first half, foldable phone sales reached 480,000 units with a 78 percent growth and sales would hit 1 million units by the end of 2023, said researcher Sandalwood.
The foldable market is currently the only segment that can maintain rapid growth, said researcher International Data Corp, or IDC, adding that Android manufacturers hope with foldable phones they can make a breakthrough in the premium market and narrow the gap with Apple,
In the second quarter, the Chinese smartphone market declined 2.1 percent year on year, greatly improving from the double-digit decrease rate in the previous quarters, according to IDC.