It looks like old timers Samsung and Apple are facing new players in the smartphone battleground who are definitely forces to be reckoned with because the new guys are coming after them hard and fast.

According to a blogpost[1] written by Lauren Guenveur on Kantar Worldpanel, 88% of existing Apple fans and 86% of Samsung users in the US have said that they would stick to the brand if they were to update their phones. Well this ought to be good news, right? Well it isn’t if you look at the bigger picture.

China’s fast-growing developing market is like an apple pie and everybody wants a piece (or more) of it. But with the emergence of native phone makers such as Huawei, Xiaomi and Oppo grabbing market shares, it looks like Samsung and Apple could be left grabbing crumbs of this pie soon. Samsung fell from its previous record of 34% in China to a mere 9% in Q2 2016. And in the last one year, both Apple and Huawei have been competing for the first place with Xiaomi trailing not too far behind.

Huawei’s director Richard Yu recently voiced the brand’s aim to overtake both Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. within the next 5 years to become the biggest smartphone maker in the world. And this doesn’t seem like wishful thinking because not only did the brand become the first Chinese brand to have shipped a whopping 108 million mobile phones worldwide last year[2]but Huawei also spent USD 9 billion on research and development, overtaking Apple which spent USD 8.1 billion on its R&D.

Jun Zhang, Managing Director, Head of China Equity Research at Rosenblatt Securities said “The increasing competition from Chinese OEMs and better designs of Samsung phones have made it difficult for iPhones to gain market share in the middle end market in China. In the past, iPhones were an icon of social status in China, but starting last year, we actually found many business persons carrying Huawei or Xiaomi phones. We even think that Apple still enjoys the high-end brand in China, but clearly there are alternative brands that could be considered by some high-end consumers”[3].

India, on the other hand (which is on its way to beat China by becoming the world’s largest smartphone market very soon) according to Kantar, is still being led by Samsung and followed closely by Micromax and Xiaomi.

As Guenveur mentions in her articles, perhaps it’s time the two top ranking mobile OEM’s stop being obsessed with each other and take a really good look around them before they meet a fate similar to the fallen champion, Nokia.


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