Chinese Smartphone Makers (7 Companies): Key Research Findings 2020
Yano Research Institute (the President, Takashi Mizukoshi) has carried out a survey on 7 Chinese smartphone makers, analyzed the range of products and hardware components in 2020 at each maker including sub-brands, and clarified their influence over global market, while taking into account impact of ongoing US-China trade war.
Although the global smartphone market in 2020 may have hit a ceiling and significant growth was not expected in the first place, COVID-19 and influence of US-China trade war have dealt a serious blow to the market. The shock of COVID-19 have plunged global economy into a severe contraction especially in the second quarter of the year (April-June 2020), reducing shipment and sales of handsets sharply. While the market started to recover its growth after the third quarter, it is forecasted that all handset makers will be bound to year-to-year decline. Under the circumstances, yet, Chinese smartphone makers are making a leap forward: Out of top 7 positions of handset makers (smartphones and feature phones) in terms of global shipments, Chinese makers accounted for five.
In a meantime, as U.S. Department of Commerce added Chinese giant Huawei to their “Entity List” of the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) in 2019, US-China trade dispute since 2018 has become a major threat to the global mobile communication market. Restrictions have been tightened not only by reducing Chinese companies to make access to supplies of US-made semiconductors but also by restricting supply of semiconductors fabricated using US-made equipment. Furthermore, updates to open source OS were made no longer available on Huawei devices for new and existing users, including those sold in the markets other than China.
While sanction from US-China trade tension continues, its influence on shipment volume of Huawei handsets in 2020 is assumed to be limited. Although sales have recovered in the China, the market in which economic activities have reinvigorated instantaneously, in the markets where OS updates are terminated due to the sanction, consumers immediately held off purchases. Even though high-end handsets are launched for the year end sales, it is possible that pullbacks in consumer spending on Huawei products may become a notable trend.
Outlook for 2021 onward is severe on fabrication of premium and high-end products, i.e. products sold at higher than 900 dollars or 600 dollars respectively; unless trade restrictions are eased, product shipments will be stagnated due to inventory shortage of semiconductors for the first quarter of 2021 (January to March 2021).
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