​Xiaomi, Huawei topple the iPhone in China

Xiaomi has reclaimed the top spot in China, as Huawei pushes ahead of Apple.

Chinese mobile company Xiaomi is once again the biggest seller of smartphones in China, after reclaiming the top spot from Apple.

The second quarter saw two Chinese tech companies climb ahead of Apple by the number of devices shipped to China, nudging the iPhone maker into third place, according to analyst Canalys.

As the research company notes, the figures mean that a third of smartphones sold in China were made by either Xiaomi or Huawei. The former took the lead from Apple with a 15.9 percent market share for the three months to June.

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Huawei is hot on Xiaomi's heels with a share of 15.7 percent for the quarter, leaving Apple in third spot. Samsung and Vivo were fourth and fifth, respectively.

While Xiaomi has hit Apple's efforts in China, it's likely done bigger damage to Samsung's, thanks to the popularity of the homegrown brand's ultra-cheap devices and its recently launched Mi Note Pro phablet, which dramatically undercut Samsung's pricing for the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy Note 4.

In the first quarter, Canalys said Apple was China's biggest smartphone seller, noting that Chinese consumer tastes are shifting away from very low end smartphones amid ever higher mobile penetration. As a result, local companies are facing a tougher time, with Lenovo, Yulong, and ZTE all pushed out of China's top five.

"The China smartphone market continues to mature, remaining stagnant quarter-on-quarter. Competition among major brands has never been so intense," said Jingwen Wang, an analyst at Canalys.

"Huawei recorded the highest smartphone shipments in its history without compromising its product margin or profitability. Apple and Samsung have both increased their sales activities in the China market, expanding rapidly in channel coverage through flagship stores and small to medium size phone retailers respectively. Xiaomi is under immense pressure to maintain its top position in the quarters to come," Wang added.

Though Apple has dropped to third place, the company more than doubled net sales in Greater China year on year for the third quarter to $13bn, while Apple CEO Tim Cook noted on an earnings call recently that iPhone sales grew in the region by 87 percent, well above the five percent average growth for the smartphone industry.

Meanwhile, Samsung recently announced its considering adjusting the price of its flagship Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge to maintain sales.

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