China’s Revived Yet Fierce 5G Smartphone Market Landscape Post-COVID-19

China’s smartphone market experienced a 17% year-on-year decrease in 2020 Q2 but saw a 9% month-on-month increase in the post-COVID19 period, according to Asia-based industry analysis firm Counterpoint’s Market Pulse, its smartphone sales tracking service.

Even though the overall Chinese smartphone market is recovering from the pandemic, consumer confidence still remains low, as commented by Mengmeng Zhang, a research analyst at Counterpoint Research.

In order to survive such gloomy market conditions, Chinese 5G original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), operators and service providers are actively pushing the sales of 5G smartphones and services through price discounts.

As a result of such stimulus, one-third of the total sales of smartphones in China during the quarter are 5G services, which ranks the highest in the world.

Nevertheless, brand competition is fierce amid the revival of the smartphone market in China. Among all competitors, Huawei remains the best player and holds 46% market share in the quarter. This is not the first time for Huawei to perform so well. The company grabbed the largest market share of 33% in 2019 Q2 and 39% in 2020 Q1.

China has become the most important 5G market for Huawei due to the UK’s ban on the company from its 5G network and restrictions cast by the U.S. and France. Also, Huawei’s overseas shipments saw a huge decline after it lost the ability to use Google Mobile Services (GMS) in its latest smartphones.

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Additionally, Huawei’s 5G family is quickly growing with the help of its high-end Mate 30 and P40 series, and mid-tier Nova 7 series.

Apple is another key OEM in this quarter. Due to the lasting popularity of the iPhone 11 series, Apple grew an incredible 32% year-on-year in spite of overall market decline.

“Despite a slowdown in the smartphone market in China, Chinese OEMs have picked up the pace in 5G developments that were hampered by COVID-19 disruptions in Q1 2020,” said Ethan Qi, a senior analyst at Counterpoint.

In China, 5G smartphones are in a mid-to-high price range of $400 and above led by brands like Huawei, while moving towards lower-tier price brands like OPPO, Xiaomi and Vivo.