Little-known Chinese smartphone brand OPPO is shining in a sluggish smartphone market

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The smartphone market in China has been performing well in the last few years but is now slowing down a little, despite this the fairly unknown Chinese smartphone maker OPPO is going viral. Dongguan, Guangdong based OPPO Electronics Corp. shipped over 22.6 million smartphones in Q2 2016, an increase of 136.6% year-over-year, according to data from research company International Data Corporation (IDC). Still according to IDC figures, OPPO held a market share of around 6.6% at the end of Q2 2016, making the fairly unknown smartphone brand a significant player in the global market.

Designed for consumers

OPPO Mobile Australian director Michael Tran declared “Technology is so important to us”, “We are listening to our consumers and what they want in their devices, and designing the products based on [that].” The camera technology installed in the phones was the focus of OPPO’s marketing strategy. The most popular OPPO phone the R9 comes with a 16 megapixel front-facing camera, along with various light settings and noise-reduction technology, intending to appeal to users that are used to taking “selfies”. “We are investing into research and development for our camera technology” said Michael Tran, “We want to be known as the most advanced camera phone.”

OPPO & the competition

OPPO and another little-known Chinese smartphone maker vivo pushed both Lenovo and Xiaomi out of IDC’s top 5 smartphone vendors by shipment in Q1 2016. Shipments for vivo grew by 80.2% in one year to 16.4 million units. On a global scale, IDC reported that smartphone vendors shipped 343.3 million smartphones during the second quarter of 2016, a slight increase of 0.3% from last year. In terms of quarter-to-quarter, shipments went up by 3.1%. Frenetic marketing strategies and advertising for the OPPO’s flagship R9 phone boosted sales in the quarter, according to IDC’s analysis. OPPO furthered its strength in Chinese Tier 3 and Tier 5 cities, which reportedly contributed to its growth.

According to a separate report, Strategy Analytics said that OPPO was also spreading into foreign countries in Asia, such as India and other emerging smartphone markets. OPPO has a strong potential but still has long way to go to catch up with market leader Samsung, which shipped 77 million handsets in the Q2 2016, owning 22.4% of the market share, especially thanks to the popularity of its flagship Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. The American Apple came second with 40.4 million handsets shipped for the same period, holding 11.8% of the market with users that are likely to delay their purchase to the next quarter when a new iPhone model is expected to be released.

Shenzhen, Guangdong based Huawei recently reported a smartphone shipments of 32.1 million units for the second quarter, a jump of 25% year-over-year, according to IDC sources. Huawei holds a 9.4% market share. Strategy Analytics Linda Sui reported that there are “emerging signs that the global smartphone market has reached a low point in the first half of 2016.” she continued “The growth outlook for the second half of the this year is brighter due to a host of new product launches from Samsung, Apple and others.”