Top Chinese Mobile Phone Brands

Huawei Mate 30 Pro (Source: Huawei)

In recent years, more and more Chinese mobile phone brands have been gaining traction globally. According to CounterPoint, a well-known industry analysis company, China’s leading mobile phone brands took a large share of the global phone market in 2019. Here are the most popular Chinese smartphone brands that are not only well-retailed domestically, but also widely recognized overseas.

Global smartphone share (Source: CounterPoint)

Huawei

Huawei is an old player in the smartphone field. Since 2019, Huawei (including its sub-brand Honor) has become the world’s second largest smartphone producer only after Samsung, outpacing Apple. Huawei’s mobile phones are very popular not only in China but also in many outside markets.

The Chinese multinational tech company was founded in 1987 by Ren Zhengfei with headquarters in Shenzhen, Guangdong province. In light of the recent China-US trade war, Huawei has been making global headlines, and has recently announced its first mobile phone without “official” access to Google Play and Google Services, the Huawei Mate 30 series, as well as a new flagship the Huawei P30 series. P and Mate series are Huawei’s two premium phone lines. This year Huawei also unveiled a bunch of 5G phones and an innovative foldable phone Huawei Mate X.

Honor is a smartphone brand owned by Huawei, established in 2013, mainly to compete with low- and mid-range online smartphone brands in China and globally. Honor phones contributed a lot to making Huawei the world’s second largest smartphone maker. This year the Huawei sub-branch released two popular models the Honor 20S and Honor 9X series.

Xiaomi

Xiaomi is one of the quickest growing tech companies in the world, offering smartphones, laptops, and smart devices. Founded in 2010 by Lei Jun, it became the world’s fourth largest smartphone maker within no more than 8 years. In 2018, Xiaomi filed for an IPO on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, which became the world’s largest IPO since 2014.

In 2019, Xiaomi unveiled several flagship phones with 5G, such as Xiaomi Mi 9, Mi MIX 3, and a very unique Surround Display MI MIX Alpha. Xiaomi, like Huawei, also has a sub-brand, Redmi, which was recently spun out to a standalone phone brand, unveiling three new android phones: Redmi Note 7, Redmi Note 8 and Redmi K20. Besides, Xiaomi’s other sub-brand Pocophone has been a consumer favorite, especially in India, since 2018. The Poco2 is expected to be launched by the end of 2019, though no confirmed news came from Xiaomi yet.

OPPO

OPPO is a consumer electronics and mobile company based in Guangdong, China that has a strong global presence with smartphones. OPPO is one of the top smartphone brands in China, ranking No. 5 with a 9% global smartphone market share in Q2 2019. OPPO has manufactured a wide range of smartphones from the low-price devices to high-end premium ones. Aggressive marketing, branding and good product quality have made OPPO one of the world’s top mobile brands.

In 2019, OPPO is actively expanding its influence in Europe, with a new model like the OPPO Reno series with 5G, which was debuted in Zürich, and a special OPPO Reno FC Barcelona Edition created in cooperation with the Spanish football club, Barcelona. Besides, OPPO also held the OPPO Creators Awards 2019, supporting global art lovers with its powerful camera phone OPPO Reno 10X Zoom.

Additionally, Realme, the Chinese phone brand under OPPO that used to only target the overseas market, especially Southeast Asia, announced its return to the homeland along with the first smartphone Realme X. Recently, its new generation Realme X2, a budget camera phone with 64MP quad-camera, was released.

Vivo

Vivo is another Chinese smartphone brand headquartered in Guangdong that has gained worldwide success since it entered the industry in 2009. Closely following OPPO, the brand took up an 8% global smartphone market share in Q2 2019. Vivo and OPPO have both originated under the wing of the electronics giant -BBK Electronics.

Vivo often cooperates with Chinese top celebrities in its marketing campaigns, for example, Chinese idol singer Cai Xukun for its flagship phone vivo X23, targeting the post-90s and gen-Z consumer groups. Its latest flagship is the vivo NEX 3 5G released on September 16 in Shanghai.

To focus on middle- and high-end market, this February vivo launched its new sub-brand – iQOO. This new phone brand launched its latest flagship iQOO Pro in Beijing on August 22.

OnePlus

OnePlus is a young Chinese smartphone manufacturer founded by Pete Lau and Carl Pei in Shenzhen in 2013. The company boasts a strong line-up of mobile phone with fast SoC and unique design, bringing millions of fans all over the world. During the Q4 2018, OnePlus recorded its highest ever shipments and led in India’s premium smartphone segment.

Last October, OnePlus unveiled its flagship OnePlus 6T in New York and established a successful cooperation with T-Mobile, a US telecommunication services provider, to allow more American consumers to buy the flagship device and spread brand awareness. This October, OnePlus will release their new generation 7T series in Europe, a successor of the OnePlus 7 series announced in the first half of 2019. Aside from smartphones, OnePlus also recently stepped into the TV market with their first flagship smart TV—the OnePlus TV.

Meizu

Meizu is a Chinese homegrown brand, established by Jack Wong in Zhuhai Guangdong in 2003. It began as a manufacturer of MP3 and MP4 players. Meizu shifted its focus to smartphones in 2018. The company has its own operating system called Flyme, which is largely based on Android. The brand gained great popularity among China’s young generation over the past years, but has been losing its market share as of late.

Meizu’s latest flagship is the 16S Pro, an upgraded smartphone from its predecessor Meizu 16s that shares similar specs. Both feature a 6.2-inch display, 6GB/8GB of RAM, up to 256GB of storage, and a 3,600 mAh battery. Compared with Meizu 16s, the new flagship phone has a more powerful Snapdragon 855+ chipset, higher touch sampling rate and better rear triple-camera.

Lenovo

Lenovo is a Chinese multinational company and the world’s prime laptop manufacturer. Its smartphones once ranked fourth in the world, but today the company only has a 3%market share.

Motorola, a famous phone brand present since the early advent of the phone age, was acquired by Lenovo in 2014, becoming a sub-brand of Lenovo.

ZTE

ZTE, headquartered in Shenzhen, is one of the global leaders on the smartphone front, also leading the pack in telecommunications and network equipment. ZTE’s high-end mobile phones are selling well in the West.

ZTE has joined the 5G trend with the launch of its first 5G smartphone Axon 10 Pro 5G on February 25 at the MWC 2019 in Barcelona. Its latest mobile release is the Blade A5 2019, launched in May 2019.

Nubia, another popular mobile phone brand, devised by Nubia Technology, is a subsidiary of ZTE Corporation. In 2019, Nubia unveiled new android phones with impressive features like the world’s first wearable phone Nubia Alpha, budget-friendly gaming phone Red Magic 3 and a dual-screen Nubia Z20.

Tecno

Transsion is a mobile phone manufacturer based in Shenzhen, known as the “King of Mobile Phones in Africa”. Since 2017, it has been the largest smartphone manufacturer by sales in Africa, also expanding into South Asia. The company produces phones in China, Ethiopia and India. On September 30, Transsion Holdings filed for a nearly $4 billion IPO on Shanghai’s STAR Market.

Transsion has three main brands targeting different groups: Tecno, Itel, and Infinix. Tecno Mobile is a dominant and premium mobile phone brand, with a variety of categories ranging from feature phones to smartphones. Its Camon series smartphones have become a hit in Africa, in part because they are able to precisely detect dark-skinned faces even in poor lighting conditions.