For the full year of 2016, China reached 476.5 million smartphone units shipped, an 11.4% increase. Shipments in the fourth quarter were 131.6 million, the highest single quarter ever.
Canalys research shows that, in 2016, Huawei took the top spot in the market with 76.2 million shipments, a small lead ahead of runner-up Oppo with 73.2 million units, followed by Vivo in third place at 63.2 million units. The smartphone market recovery was driven by several factors. Leading domestic manufacturers Huawei, Oppo and Vivo invested heavily in new product and channel developments.
Canalys Research Analyst Jessie Ding said “In 2016, the top three brands were competing with new product launches, go-to-market strategies and brand building. Also, their flagship products started to contribute to a much larger part of their total shipments and created a halo effect for the rest of the portfolio, like Samsung and Apple.”
Xiaomi shipped 51.4 million units, a 21% decline year over year and its market share decreased from 15.2% in 2015 to 10.7% in 2016. Apple shipped 43.8 million units in 2016, a year over year decrease of 18.2%.
"China and Hong Kong are still the hardest-hit areas in Apple's global top ten market. This directly led to a 7.0% decline in global shipments compared to 2015." Ding commented, “This year, the outlook remains bleak for Apple to get its China performance back to its heyday of 2015. As with consumers in other developed markets, China’s consumers are awaiting the 10th anniversary of the iPhone with very high expectations.”