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Smartphone firms up the ante for June 18 carnival

By MA SI | China Daily | Updated: 2021-06-01 09:23
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Shoppers try Xiaomi smartphones at a store in Guangzhou, Guangdong province. [Photo by Li Zhihao/For China Daily]

Smartphone companies are drumming up excitement for the upcoming June 18 online shopping festival and have come up with a slew of incentives, payment plans and new products to attract consumers.

Xu Qi, vice-president of smartphone company Realme, said the brand will offer 700 million yuan ($109.2 million) in subsidies to consumers who buy smartphones during the June 18 online shopping festival.

"We plan to sell more than 1 million smartphones during the period," said Xu, adding that Realme has unveiled three major new handsets in the 1,500 yuan to 2,500 yuan price range for the festival.

The move came shortly after Realme became the fastest-growing major smartphone brand in China during the first quarter of the year, according to market research company Counterpoint.

From January to March, Realme's sales in China increased by 82 percent on a quarterly basis and by 451 percent on a yearly basis, making it the seventh-biggest smartphone brand in the country, Counterpoint said.

Smartphone major Oppo unveiled its latest 5G smartphones Reno6 series last week, as it steps up the push to attract young consumers who love photography and mobile games. Priced from 2,799 yuan in China, the Reno6 series are part of Oppo's broader plan to popularize 5G smartphones in the nation.

The intensified competition came after the US government restrictions crippled the smartphone business of Huawei Technologies Co, leaving a void for its Chinese peers to fill.

Xiang Ligang, director-general of the Information Consumption Alliance, said Honor and Xiaomi used to be major smartphone players during the June 18 online shopping carnival so far.

Though Honor became independent from Huawei late last year, its business had already been harmed by Washington's restrictions, and it will take time for Honor to regain the online market share, Xiang said.

Meanwhile, sensing opportunities, other Chinese smartphone vendors are working hard to exploit the June 18 online shopping festival to grow their business.

Nicole Peng, vice-president of mobility at market research firm Canalys, said competition has intensified and the affordable 5G segment is just low-hanging fruit for Huawei's competitors. The real battlefield is in the high-end ($500 and above) segment, where Huawei still enjoys a sizable lead in the Android segment.

Shipments of smartphones in China fell 33.9 percent year-on-year to 26.97 million handsets in April, according to the latest report from the China Academy of Information and Communications, a Beijing-based think tank.

The year-on-year decline is in part due to surge in shipments in April 2020 following a low point amid the COVID-19 in the nation, the academy added.

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