SEOUL, Sept. 6 (Yonhap) -- Samsung Electronics Co. saw its share of China's cellphone market drop in the second quarter as more Chinese customers preferred cheaper local brands over its high-end devices, a report said Wednesday.
According to the report by the Korea International Trade Association (KITA), Chinese customers owned 48 million Samsung cellphones as of end-June, making the company the sixth-largest player in the world's No. 2 economy. It was down two notches from its standing in the first quarter of last year.
U.S. rival Apple Inc. grabbed the top spot with 171 million handsets, with Chinese brands, including Huawei, Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi, ranking second to fifth. Huawei came second with 132 million units, trailed by Oppo with 124 million, Vivo with 108 million and Xiaomi with 68 million.
The report attributed the advance of Chinese products to their reasonable price and high quality. "The prime reason for the growth of Oppo and Vivo was their good bang for buck."
Nearly 63 percent of cellphones sold in the Chinese market in the second quarter were low- and mid-end products with a price tag of less than 2,000 yuan (US$305.60).
Premium phones worth 4,000 yuan or more accounted for only 6.4 percent of the total second-quarter sales, with iPhones taking up an absolute majority.
In particular, Chinese brands were popular among adolescents and college students. Slightly over 43 percent of Oppo phone owners were aged 16 to 25, with the corresponding figure coming to 47 percent for Oppo.
The report called on Samsung to ramp up efforts to restore customer confidence in its cellphones. "Only 7.2 percent of Samsung phone owners repurchased Samsung products in the second quarter, far lower than 53.4 percent for iPhones and 25-26 percent for Oppo and Vivo. Samsung should regain customer confidence in its brand and establish a base of loyal customer again."
Samsung remained the world's No. 1 seller of mobile phones in the second quarter despite strong performances by cheaper Chinese rivals. Samsung shipped 89 million smartphones and traditional handsets in the April-June period, taking up 20.5 percent of the global market, according to industry tracker Strategy Analytics.