China’s smartphone boom may be over, as even Apple Inc grapples with a slowing economy and investor darling Xiaomi Inc struggles to stand out amid intense competition in low-margin handsets.
On Tuesday, Apple reported the slowest-ever increase in iPhone shipments as the Chinese market weakened. That slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy is threatening to hamstring consumption across the country.
Xiaomi, China’s most valuable start-up with a $45 billion pricetag, is under threat, after it missed targets for $1 billion in Internet service revenue and also handsets sales in 2015.
- Twitter War Between Congress Leader Amarinder Singh & Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal
- Life Of Actor-Dancer Ashwini Ekbote Who Died During A Performance
- Idea Exchange With Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh
- PM Narendra Modi Bats For Equal Rights : Here What He Said On Triple Talaq
- Uncle Shivpal Targets Akhilesh, Claims CM Told Him He Will Form Another Party
- Pakistan Continues To Violate Ceasefire In RS Pura
- Samajwadi Party’s internal fight divides SP
- Cyrus Mistry Removed As Chairman of Tata Sons: Here’s What Happened
- Wreath Laying Ceremony Of Slain Soldier Sushil Kumar Observed
- Virat Kohli Powers India Home With Unbeaten 154
- Pakistan Resorts To Heavy Mortar Shelling, 1 BSF Jawan Dead, 3 Injured
- Bigg Boss 10 Weekend Ka Vaar: Priyanka Jagga Evicted
- Here’s How Much Army Welfare Fund Has After MNS Demanded Rs 5 Cr To Cast Pak Artistes
- Shiv Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray Take A Jibe At MNS: Here’s What He Said
- Samajwadi Party Crisis Deepens: Here’s How It Will Impact UP Polls
As China’s economy grows at its slowest pace in a quarter of a century, the country’s once booming smartphone market has become saturated. For vendors whose products have become commoditised and make little to no profit, that doesn’t just mean the years of easy growth are in the past, but that it could be a struggle to keep their heads above water.
“The large growth rates that we saw in years past are definitely much different now,” said Bryan Ma, analyst at IDC, which predicted China’s smartphone market will grow at 1-2 per cent this year. “In theory it could slip below zero this year, but either way, it’s relatively flat.”
Last year, IDC estimated it grew 2 per cent. From 2011 to 2013, the market on average more than doubled in size each year. Xiaomi’s Internet services revenue surged 150 per cent to 3.71 billion yuan ($563.94 million) from 1.48 billion yuan a year earlier, an internal document showed. A spokeswoman for Xiaomi declined to comment on revenue for 2015.
Like peers such as Apple, Beijing-based Xiaomi is trying to sidestep a slowdown in the world’s largest handset market by coaxing smartphone buyers to also purchase Internet services and opening stores in China’s less wealthy cities. The firm has grown rapidly since it started in 2010. But Xiaomi’s valuation has been questioned recently as the firm has struggled to maintain its early growth surge.
Xiaomi missed its global shipment target by 12 per cent, selling 70 million handsets last year, when domestic rivals such as Lenovo Group Ltd and top player Huawei Technologies Co Ltd countered at home with similar Internet-only device sales campaigns.
“Given that Xiaomi’s valuation has always been based on the company being more than a commodity handset manufacturer, missing their services revenue goal by such a significant margin is even more concerning than missing their handset target,” said Ben Thompson, a tech analyst at Stratechery. Now it’s a question of whether Xiaomi can grow that revenue fast enough to prove its critics wrong, Thompson said.
The company encapsulates the risks of a vendor like Samsung Electronics Co Ltd in recent years, who can’t build a moat for their business. “The only way to win with an undifferentiated product is having a superior cost structure and scale,” said Thompson. “Samsung did it, and now Huawei is doing it. ‘Win’ is all relative though, if you’re making a couple of bucks in profit per phone.”