China beats South Korea on smartphone market share

Chinese smartphone manufacturers have surpassed their South Korean counterparts in combined global market share in smartphones.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Nine representative Chinese handset makers have toppled Samsung and LG's combined market share for the second quarter of 2014, according to a report released Tuesday by the Federation of Korean Industries, an alliance of South Korean conglomerates.

The FKI said the nine global Chinese smartphone makers, Huawei, Lenovo, Xiaomi, Coolpad, ZTE, TCL, Vivo, Oppo and Gionee, recorded 31.3 percent of global market share in the second quarter. Samsung and LG together had a 30.1 percent share.

Samsung, South Korea's largest Smartphone maker, contributed the lion's share of that figure with 25.2 percent, shipping more than 74 million devices.

In the second quarter of 2012, China controlled only 14.6 percent, with only five of its vendors selling globally. South Korea had 34.8 percent then, more than double that of its neighbours.

Huawei, Lenovo and Xiaomi were first, second and third among Chinese vendors in market share, respectively, together had 17.3 percent, 5.4 percent more than world's second largest vendor, Apple.

The FKI said strong interest in Apple's iPhone 6 and price-competitive handsets made by Chinese companies have directly impacted South Korea's falling market share for the last two years. The federation urged South Korean companies to find new industries to offset losses.

"The Free Trade Agreement between South Korea and China is the best way for South Korea to boost up its core industries which are now in crisis. Securing new technology and finding new businesses are essential for South Korea to beat China" said Yoo Hwan-ik, assistant secretary general of FKI's Industrial Research division. South Korea and China signed their FTA in November 2014.

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