Oppo snatched China's smartphone sales crown in 2016

Local brands further increased their dominance in the Chinese market, while Apple registered its first iPhone sales decline in the country. Samsung, however, was ousted again.

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(IDC)

Chinese smartphone brand Oppo shipped 78.4 million mobile units in China last year, outstripping heavyweight Huawei and its sister company Vivo and topping the yearly smartphone sales chart in the country for the first time, according to the IDC Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.

Huawei and Vivo, which shipped 76.6 million and 69.2 million handsets respectively, seized the second and third positions for the year, respectively.

Taking into account 2015 figures, Oppo, Huawei, and Vivo saw sales increase by 122.2 percent, 21.8 percent, and 96.9 percent, respectively. Oppo and Vivo's success was mainly due to their aggressive promotion of mid-range smartphones in the lower-tiered cities, according to an IDC analyst.

Apple and Xiaomi, the fourth and fifth largest smartphone brands in China, saw sales slump by 23.2 percent and 36 percent in the market over 2015, both experiencing their first year-on-year sales decline in the country. IDC believes Apple's influence in the Chinese market remains, but many Apple users are expected to be holding out for its 10-year anniversary iPhone, which is reportedly to launch this year.

The top five names on the chart showed no difference from the year before, but their dominance in the Chinese market has further amplified. Altogether they sold 66.5 percent of mobile handsets in the market in 2016, up from 59.7 percent in 2015. South Korean technology giant Samsung, once again, was kept out of the top five.

In terms of quarterly growth, Oppo kept its top spot from Q3 2016, while Huawei pipped Vivo to second place. Apple climbed to fourth, displacing Xiaomi.

For the full year of 2016, the Chinese market grew by 8.7 percent, and a total of 467.3 million handsets were sold in the country, according to IDC.