Biz / Tech

China's smartphone market rebounds with local brands releasing new, competitive products

Zhu Shenshen
China's smartphone market is showing promise, with a number of local brands releasing new models with innovative new tech like AI processors, and advanced camera technology.
Zhu Shenshen

China's smartphone sales grew 59 percent in September, indicating a market rebound after a consecutive sales decrease over the past two years.

Firms like Honor and OPPO kicked off new models on Thursday with photography optimization, on-device AI or artificial intelligence, and more affordable prices to woo consumers.

In September, China's smartphone sales hit 33.3 million units, 59 percent growth from last year. In the first nine months, domestic sales reached 200 million units, 2.2 percent growth from a year ago, the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology or CAICT reported on Thursday.

CAICT, a government-authorized research arm, calculated newly register phone figures from regulators. The September sales spike means rapidly growing sales in the following months, probably since the fourth quarter, industry experts said.

China's smartphone market rebounds with local brands releasing new, competitive products
Zhu Shenshen / SHINE

Honor CEO Zhao Ming released the new Honor 100, showing strong confidence in the market.

The Chinese smartphone market saw modest decline in the third quarter, but the market is expected to bottom out in 2023, and rebound soon, researchers including IDC and Canalys said.

Globally, smartphone sales rose in October after declining for 27 straight months on a year-on-year basis, led by a recovery in emerging markets including China, research firm Counterpoint said on Thursday.

In September, domestic brands accounted for 75.3 percent of total sales, according to CAICT. The domestic brands like Huawei, Honor, OPPO and Xiaomi, are gaining market shares, analysts said.

Honor, a spin off from Huawei three years ago, released the new Honor 100 model selling from 2,499 yuan (US$352). It features an AI-powered camera offering performance similar to professional DSLR (Digital Single-Lens Reflex) camera, and an eye-protection display technology investment of 1 billion yuan.

Honor, the market leader in China, also announced on Wednesday to issue initial public offering or IPO in China, without providing more details. The company will see "no ceiling" rapid growth in China and globally in the next five year, Honor chief executive Zhao Ming said in an interview on Thursday night.

China's smartphone market rebounds with local brands releasing new, competitive products
Ti Gong

OPPO invited film star Zhu Yilong promotes the newly released Reno 11 phone.

OPPO released its Reno 11 model on Thursday, with an upgraded and professional camera for portrait photography, a free battery swap plan and a new operating system with OPPO's on-device AI capabilities called AndesGPT.

It targets young photography fans with a starting price of just 2,499 yuan.

AI is a highlight in the smartphone industry, which offers users ChatGPT-like services in mobile ends, covering smart assistant, generative content production and image generation.

MediaTek also released Dimensity 8300, a 5G-enable generative AI processor, which will make its debut at the end of the year. It's the second processor from MediaTek released on an on-device AI processor this month.

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