Samsung was the leading smartphone manufacturer in China last year with three domestic firms ranked second through fourth. Those companies would be Lenovo, Huawei and Coolpad. Apple was fifth. Analysts blamed Apple’s weak showing on tepid sales of the Apple iPhone 5c and the delayed launch with China Mobile. It wasn’t until last month that Apple finally started selling the iPhone through the world’s largest carrier.
Q4 sales of smartphones in China rose 21.9%, but on an annual basis, the number was 15.9% year-over-year. Analysts say that this represents a declining trend in sales of smartphones in the country. Home town companies like Xiaomi have been affected by internet sales by rivals like Huawei and Coolpad, both using secondary names online.
Strong sales during the Lunar New Year are expected to drive smartphone sales to the 100 million level in the country during the first quarter. One analyst characterized the smartphone market in the Asia as favoring handsets with higher specs and lower prices. One of the poster children for this campaign is the Xiaomi Hongmi, aka Red Rice. The device offered decent specs for just $130 lock, stock and barrel. On Tuesday, the Hongmi was given a name for international sales, the Xiaomi Redmi.