Chinese smartphone makers Vivo and Oppo are likely to start producing key mobile components locally in India within a year. The move follows the recent government decision to defer the levy of import duties on key components for mobile manufacturing by one year to April 1, 2020. South Korean Samsung will begin making components from April 2020, once the duty kicks in. Production will start at its Noida facility, which is also its largest mobile phone manufacturing plant in the world. Since 2017, the government has steadily increased customs duty on mobile components, encouraging firms to manufacture these products locally.
Xiaomi, Samsung, Vivo, Realme, and OPPO emerged as the top five smartphone vendors in terms of market share in Q4 2018 in India. Chinese brand Xiaomi with 28.9% market share led the Indian smartphone market in 2018, followed by South Korean brand Samsung at 22.4% and Vivo at 10%, an International Data Corporation (IDC) report said on Tuesday. The overall smartphone average selling price remained flat in 2018 at $158. OnePlus emerged as the leader in the price segment range $500-$700 and in the super premium segment.
When OnePlus launched its first mobile phone nearly five years ago, its main target market was the US and Europe. The Chinese company wanted to be an online brand operating in the premium smartphone segment. India did not feature in its plans. Four years after, India is OnePlus’s single largest market, accounting for 33%, or $466 million, of the company’s total revenue of $1.4 billion in 2017. China is the second biggest market, while Europe and America make up the rest. OnePlus has also become the biggest premium smartphone (those above Rs 30,000) player in India, overtaking Samsung and Apple.
The government has deferred the levy of countervailing (CVD) and excise duties on key mobile handset components such as LCD displays, touch panels, and vibrator motors, by at least a year. The display panel accounts for 25-30% of a mobile phone’s production cost and the new duties threatened to increase the cost for handset makers that are locally assembling phones. Samsung told the government it would have to stop manufacturing few models in India and shut down 100 plants already set up for assembly if the deadline was imposed. The notification was scheduled to come into effect from February 1.
Apple CEO Tim Cook cited several factors why iPhone sales are not picking up in emerging markets like India. The customers are holding on to their older iPhones a bit longer than in the past, he said. The Apple CEO said the foreign exchange is another key factor behind the slow iPhone sales. "The relative strength of the US dollar has made our products more expensive in many parts of the world," he told analysts. According to Counterpoint Research, the growing competition in the premium segment, led by OnePlus, Samsung and Huawei, has dented Apple's market share in India.
According to Counterpoint Research, Xiaomi is the undisputed market leader with a market share of 27% followed by Samsung with 22% share in the Indian smartphone shipments in the fourth quarter of 2018. Xiaomi also dominated the calendar year 2018 with a market share of 28% while Samsung grabbed 24% share even as India`s overall smartphone shipments grew 10%. India is the second largest smartphone market in the world after China. It has just surpassed 430 million smartphone users. Among other top smartphone players in the fourth quarter of 2018 was Vivo, with 9% market share and Oppo with 7%.
A report by gadget search site 91mobiles.com showed that Indians prefer to buy higher-priced smartphones ranging between Rs 10,000- 20,000. The report observed the dwindling interest to buy sub-Rs 10,000 smartphones. User searches for smartphones below Rs 10,000 declined to 23% in Q4 of 2018 from 34% in Q1 while, searches for smartphones priced between Rs 10,000 and Rs 20,000 rose to 57% in Q4 from 49% in Q1. China’s Xiaomi was the most searched brand attracting 25.1% users followed by Korea’s Samsung with 17.2%, Oppo with 12% and Vivo with 11%.