How China’s BBK is giving the jitters to Samsung and Xiaomi in India

How China's BBK is giving the jitters to Samsung and Xiaomi in India
Infographics: How China's BBK becomes big threat for Samsung, Xiaomi in India. (IANS Infographics)

New Delhi  The moment you aspire to buy a Chinese smartphone with high-end specifications, brands like OnePlus, OPPO, Vivo or Realme immediately cross your mind — devices which have gained tremendous popularity and substantial market share in the Indian market within no time.

Many do not know that these popular smartphone brands belong to one Chinese multinational corporation called BBK Electronics Corp, and revenue from these four brands goes to BBK’s kitty.

The India market share of BBK stood at a massive 21 per cent in 2018 — up 3 per cent from 18 per cent in 2017.

BBK Electronics grew 27 per cent (year-on-year) in India in 2018, positioning itself at third place after Xiaomi and Samsung, according to data provided by Counterpoint Research.

The truth is: Xiaomi and Samsung have a strong rival in one entity that is BBK — not in individual subsidiaries which have proliferated both online and offline across the country.

In 2018, Xiaomi led the India market with a 28 per cent share, followed by Samsung at 24 per cent.

At third spot was Vivo with 10 per cent while OPPO was fourth with 8 per cent, said Counterpoint.

In the premium segment in India, BBK’s OnePlus is now a dominant force. OnePlus with 33 per cent market share was second after Samsung in the premium smartphone segment in the country last year.

OnePlus recorded its highest-ever shipments in a single quarter (Q4), capturing 36 per cent market share to lead the premium smartphone segment for three successive quarters.

“OnePlus 6 was the best selling premium model throughout 2018 in terms of shipment as well as in retail value. OnePlus 6T was positioned at second place followed by Samsung S9 Plus,” says Karn Chauhan, Research Analyst at Counterpoint.

The newly-launched brand Realme from BBK with 8 per cent share garnered fourth spot in the fourth quarter (ending on December 31) in India.

Xiaomi new model Mi 9 is displayed on an exhibition booth as invited guests try out the phones after its launch event in Beijing, Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019. Xiaomi on Wednesday unveiled a thinner and lighter new model built with Ai triple camera that its Founder, Chairman and CEO Lei said has better performance comparable to Apple’s iPhone Xs and Huawei Mate 20. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

Realme, which started operations in Q2 2018, entered the top five brands in 4Q 2018, reaching more than 4 million users faster than any other brand.

BBK today is collectively the world’s third largest manufacturer, even bigger than Huawei in terms of volume.

In China, BBK was the leader with 38 per cent market share in 2018, up three per cent from 2017. In China it works with three brands — OPPO, Vivo and OnePlus — and the latest member is “imoo”.

Headquartered in Dongguan, Guangdong, and founded by Duan Yongping, BBK started with consumer electronics such as TV sets, MP3 players and digital cameras in the 1990s and then amplified its ambition into mobile phone production, rivalling Samsung, Huawei and Xiaomi.

The company has announced plans to more than double its research and development spending to 10 billion yuan ($1.16 billion) for this year as it gears up for deployment of devices for the next-generation 5G network.

Learning from BBK, Xiaomi has turned its most popular device Redmi into a separate brand.

Samsung, on the other hand, has diversified more into the affordable and mid-segment with brand new ‘M’ series.

The BBK India story is going strong. In a year of 5G-enabled and foldable devices, BBK may give some more jitters to the established players in days to come.