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Chinese Smartphone Brands Play Catch-Up With Apple in Global 5G Race

Ding Yi / Jun 21, 2021 05:47 PM / Business & Tech

Chinese smartphone-makers Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi made the ranking of the world’s top five 5G mobile phone brands in the first quarter of 2021, with each reporting double-digit sales growth from the previous quarter.

In the three months through March, Oppo was the world’s second-largest 5G smartphone vendor, with shipments jumping 55% quarter-on-quarter to 21.5 million, giving it a global market share of 15.8%, according to Strategy Analytics.

Vivo and Xiaomi ranked third and fifth, holding global market shares of 14.3% and 12.2%. The two companies’ shipments rose 62% and 41% quarter-on-quarter to 19.4 million and 16.6 million units.

The growth in shipments of the three Chinese brands came as Apple suffered a quarter-on-quarter shipment decline of 23%. In the first quarter, Apple controlled 29.8% of the segmented market, down from 40.7% in the fourth quarter of last year. However, the share contraction did not change Apple’s position as the world’s leading 5G smartphone seller in the first quarter of 2021.

Strategy Analytics mentioned Vivo in particular, saying it was the world’s second-fastest growing 5G smartphone brand in the first quarter, an achievement that the research firm attributed to its strong sales in China and Europe. Samsung took the title of the world’s fastest growing 5G smartphone seller in the first quarter by growing its shipments 79% quarter-on-quarter to 17 million. The South Korean brand was the world’s fourth-largest 5G smartphone seller in the first quarter with a global market share of 12.5%.

Overall, global 5G smartphone shipments increased 6% year-on-year to 135.7 million units, Strategy Analytics said.

Contact reporter Ding Yi ( and editor Heather Mowbray (

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