Smartphones: the irresistible rise of the Chinese giants

Smartphones: the irresistible rise of the Chinese giants

The event was, again, the most viewed and most anticipated of the year in the world of the smartphone. By unveiling the latest iPhone on Wednesday, September 12, in California, Apple has confirmed the unmatched attraction – and status – that the company has $ 1,000 billion in capitalization in this market since the launch of its first model in 2007.

Six weeks earlier, however, the icon of California had suffered a very symbolic defeat. At the end of July, Tim Cook indeed lost its number two world title (behind Samsung) in favor of Chinese Huawei, so far in third place. With a sales increase of 41% in the second quarter, in a global market that is still falling (-3% in volume), the Chinese giant, according to the company Strategy Analytics, doubled Apple for the first time in its young history. This telecom equipment manufacturer from Shenzhen, born in 1988 in this former fishing village of South China transformed by Deng Xiaoping, arrived in mobile telephony in 2004. With an ambition: to become the number one in the world one day. Never did the target seem so close.

Huawei for Apple

Admittedly, Huawei will have to transform the test in the coming quarters. The Chinese group does not have the aura of an Apple and its absence in the United States, where the future of the 5G will partly play, is still a gaping hole in its world racket. Apple still holds more than half of the global market for mobile devices. But the arrival of the perpetual challenger in second place, with 15.5% market share (in volume) against 11.8% for Apple, says a lot about the sustainable installation of Chinese manufacturers in the landscape.

In fact, in the geopolitics of the smartphone, the center of gravity also moves to the east. Today, three of the five giants that share this market are Chinese: Huawei, Xiaomi and Oppo. Behind them are OnePlus, Vivo and others in an ambush. In 2011, however, only a Chinese manufacturer (the manufacturer of telecommunications equipment ZTE, who had also developed a smartphone company) was ranked fifth, according to Gartner. Nokia, not Samsung, then held the crown.

These Chinese builders have at least three things in common. They are young: Oppo was born in 2004, Xiaomi was born in 2010. All were founded by Chinese entrepreneurs from the private sector, or at least transformed into the private sector, during the transition from China to the market economy. And like the Japanese, Korean and Taiwanese manufacturers before them, these three Chinese musketeers have rejected all cards in the sector, with the latest products and at a good price. "Innovation for everyone", promises Xiaomi for his "fans" …

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