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One phone maker is really making the best out of a tough start to 2016

Oppo F1 Plus
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends
There’s not much growth in the smartphone market at the moment, but there’s one particular company that’s lighting up the charts, thanks to a strong performance in the face of difficult times. It’s Oppo, a Chinese brand that you may not know, but one with which you should familiarise yourself soon. However, analysts at Strategy Analytics are predicting the market has hit rock bottom, and expects a turnaround in the second half of 2016, which may have an affect on Oppo too.

Oppo has been doing well. It started off the year with a 2.2 percent market share, and had risen to 5.3 percent by the end of June, enough to claim fourth position in the market share chart. That puts it ahead of Xiaomi — a far better known Chinese brand — and several big names that haven’t cracked the top five, including LG and Sony. That’s 137 percent growth over the past three months, a figure way beyond any of its rivals.

Impressive on its own, Oppo’s ascendence looks even better when examining the overall smartphone market, which managed a single percent growth over last year, to 340 million devices shipped between the end of March and June. Strategy Analytics Director, Linda Sui, believes we may have reached rock bottom, and says, “emerging signs” of growth are appearing that signal a better second half of the year.

Samsung’s run away with 2016 so far, ending the second quarter at the end of June with an 8 percent increase in shipments over last year, and adding another couple of percent to its total market share. The Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge have been responsible for much of its success, and with the Galaxy Note 7 just around the corner, and talk of high-tech phones coming later on, things are only likely to get better for Samsung.

Apple lost market share and sold fewer phones than last year. The public’s lack of continued enthusiasm for the current iPhone range is blamed, but that may all change with the introduction of the iPhone 7. Finally, although it doesn’t have the market share to break into the top five, Chinese mega-brand LeEco experienced a whopping 1425 percent growth over last year, when arguably, it probably didn’t sell any phones.

Will these major devices, LeEco’s strong international plans, and other new models from LG, Xiaomi, Huawei, and others, halt Oppo’s charge up the charts? Strategy Analytics Executive Director Neil Mawston told Digital Trends:

“Smartphone competition today is crowded and relentless and Oppo is unlikely to maintain its hyper-growth for too long. There are already signs that newcomers LeEco and Qiku 360 are pressuring Oppo in Asia in the first half of the year, and major new models from Apple and Samsung will place further pressure on Oppo in the second half. Oppo is king today, but whether it can maintain that momentum well into 2017 in the current competitive environment remains to be seen.”

We’ll know more at the end of the year.

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