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Chinese vendors eat further into global smartphone market

Huawei almost doubles smartphone shipments while Lenovo continues to gain ground

Chinese vendors eat further into global smartphone market
Q2 2014 saw a single-quarter record of 295.3m shipments

Chinese smartphone manufacturers continued to gain a foothold in the global smartphone market in the second quarter of 2014, which saw a single-quarter record of 295.3m shipments, according to IDC.

While this constituted year-on-year growth of 23.1%, fuelled by ongoing demand for mobile computing, IDC said that Chinese vendors managed to outpace the market in Q2, following a strong second quarter.

Of the Chinese vendors, IDC said that the most impressive was Huawei, which nearly doubled its shipments from a year ago (posting 95.1% growth), according to the research house's findings. IDC said that the vendor's story focused on LTE pick-up, particularly in China, as all three national carriers subsidised handsets like the Huawei P7 to encourage consumers to upgrade from 3G.

Outside of China, volumes of Huawei's lower-cost Y Series fuelled growth across most regions, IDC said. The research house said that the vendor continues to expand its global reach.

Meanwhile, Lenovo also saw a strong second quarter for smartphone shipments, posting year-on-year growth of 38.7%, IDC said. This was mostly down to a record quarter in China, despite mounting pressure from other local brands.

That said, IDC admitted that Lenovo was beginning to gain traction in international markets. While only 5% of the vendor's sales were registered outside of China in Q2 2013, that share nearly tripled in Q2 2014, with emerging markets - particularly BRIIC region countries - picking up the largest volumes.

"As the death of the feature phone approaches more rapidly than before, it is the Chinese vendors that are ready to usher emerging market consumers into smartphones," said Melissa Chau, senior research manager with IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.

"The offer of smartphones at a much better value than the top global players but with a stronger build quality and larger scale than local competitors gives these vendors a precarious competitive advantage."

Samsung was the largest smartphone vendor in the quarter by market share, but its sales actually declined by 3.9%, IDC said. Meanwhile, Apple, which shipped 35.1m iPhones in the second quarter, saw growth of 12.4%, boosted mainly by strong market demand, IDC said.

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