5G Smartphone Competition Intensifies in China among Double 11 Shopping Frenzy

China’s smartphone manufacturers started to pile into the 5G arena in 2020 as the pandemic eased and the economy recovered. The competition has intensified, especially with the double 11 shopping festival approaching.

In China, 60% of smartphones shipped in September were 5G phones, making it the fourth consecutive month in which 5G smartphones took up more than 60% of total shipments, according to the data compiled by the China Academy for Information and Communications Technology (CAICT).

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The competition manifested in the white-hot price war in which Oppo’s Realme has set the lowest price in the 5G smartphone market to 948 yuan ($143) with its Realme Q2i. The Realme V3 also has a low price of 999 yuan ($151). In addition to Realme, Oppo, Huawei, Honor, Vivo and Xiaomi have all launched their lower-end smartphones with prices ranging from 1,000 to 2,000 yuan ($151 to $303).

China’s smartphone market is still recovering from a prolonged slump. September shipments in China only reached 23.33 million units, down 35.6% year on year. 226 million smartphones were shipped in total in the first nine months, a 21.5% decrease year on year.

In terms of premium 5G smartphones, Apple launched its first 5G flagship, the iPhone 12, in October, stirring the 5G competition even more, followed by Huawei’s newly launched Mate 40 series.

Smartphone brands choose to launch new phones before the double 11 festival to tap into people’s shopping frenzy, and the effect is unquestionable. According to Realme data, Realme smartphones sales reached 100 million yuan just 18 minutes after the double 11 festival kicked off on Nov. 1. According to Oppo, the sales of its smart family products, including smartphones, smart watches and phone accessories, surpassed the total of its sales last year in just one second, with a 24-fold daily increase.