Chinese smartphones influx leave rivals trailing

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KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 23): The influx of Chinese handphones into the Malaysian market has been a "game-changer", leaving established rivals trailing, according to IDC Malaysia.  

IDC which researches technology and telecommunication said the influx including those from Taiwan emerged around the second quarter of 2014 and disrupted the market from then on "leaving well-known giants like Samsung, Apple and Sony in a state of decline".

"Apart from well-known smart phone vendors, most feature phones vendors witnessed a decline – a relative effect caused by the variety of Chinese handsets available in the local market," it said in a statement today.

According to IDC data, smartphones growth was slightly lower than 60% for the first half of 2014 and steadily edged closer to 70% in the second half of the year.  

It noted that for the local market, Chinese vendors mostly brought in phones that were "entry to mid-level models" which cost around RM600-RM700 (USD200).

The lack of "latest features" in the models did not dim their appeal with Malaysian users who saw them as "good enough" for daily use.

End-users also see the handsets as golden opportunities for upgrades as they are considered value-for-money due to affordable pricing, while their reasonable specifications allow users to install and run various free essential apps without much problems.

Compared with non-Chinese smartphones, Chinese smartphones' unit shipment nearly tripled in the first half of 2014 compared to the previous half. Lenovo was leading the pack.

Newcomers Xiaomi and OPPO trailed closely behind while the non-Chinese smartphones suffered consecutive declines.

"Despite maintaining sustainable levels of sales, tech giants that use to dominate like Samsung, Apple and Sony registered substantial decline in market shares.

Nonetheless, Samsung remains the market leader despite the competition, IDC said.

IDC foresees more Chinese phones coming into the market as Chinese vendors reigned over Android phones, intensifying competition in the sector.