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    China smartphone shipments continue decline in third quarter as former Huawei mobile brand Honor reclaims top vendor ranking

    Honor, the mobile brand spun off from Huawei Technologies in 2020, emerged as China’s biggest smartphone vendor in the three months through September, when the industry’s largest market saw a second consecutive quarter of modest declines in spite of the launch of major new 5G handsets.

    Third-quarter smartphone shipments on the mainland fell 5 per cent year on year to 66.7 million units, according to a report on Thursday by tech market research firm Canalys. That compares to a 1 per cent decline in global smartphone shipments during the same period, as estimated by Canalys in a separate report last week.

    Honor reclaimed the top smartphone vendor spot in mainland China last quarter with an 18 per cent market share and total shipments of 11.8 million units. That comes more than a year since Honor last led the market in the first quarter of 2022, with a 20 per cent share and total shipments of 15 million.

    Analysts attributed Honor’s ascent to the top of China’s smartphone vendor rankings to its diverse portfolio of handsets, bricks-and-mortar retail expansion through partners, and release of competitively-priced new models.

    “Besides covering all price bands, Honor has been expanding its offline store presence across all tiers of Chinese cities and investing in improved brand awareness,” Canalys research manager Amber Liu told the South China Morning Post on Thursday.

    The devices that have drawn more consumers to Honor on the mainland include its newly launched X50 and 90-series 5G handsets that cost 1,399 yuan (US$191) and 2,499 yuan, respectively, according to Counterpoint Research.

    Honor’s focus on more affordable mid-range products, while at the same time offering promotional prices to both retailers and consumers, is a strategy that “has proven to be effective”, Counterpoint research associate Alicia Gong wrote in a report published on Thursday.

    The other top-ranked China smartphone vendors last quarter, according to Canalys, included OppoApple and Vivo – each with a 16 per cent market share – as well as Xiaomi Corp, with a 14 per cent share.