SEOUL, Feb. 14 (Yonhap) -- Samsung Electronics Co.'s smartphone shipments sharply fell in Thailand in the fourth quarter from a year earlier, losing its top title to Chinese rival Oppo, an industry tracker said Thursday.
The South Korean tech giant released just over 1 million smartphones in Thailand in the October-December period, taking up 21.2 percent of the market share, according to Canalys, a Singapore-based tech industry researcher.
The number of smartphones shipped to the market fell a sharp 36.1 percent year-on-year in the final quarter.
In contrast, Chinese companies aggressively expanded their presence with affordable handsets.
Oppo Electronics Corp. shipped nearly 1.1 million units over the period to clinch the top spot with a 22.2 percent share in the Southeast Asian region's second-largest smartphone market.
Another Chinese firm, Huawei Technologies Co., came in third, and its local peer Vivo Communication Technology Co. took fourth place.
U.S. tech giant Apple Inc. ranked fifth with 8.6 percent in the fourth quarter, its lowest market share in the country.
Canalys positively evaluated Samsung's shifting its focus to midrange handsets but expected challenges in all price bands, especially in the high-end segment.
"One of the main reasons for its disappointing Q4 was the product refresh of the J and A series, which are later than expected," Canalys said in a report. "As in other markets, Samsung is taking steps to respond to the price competition from the Chinese players by overhauling its midrange strategy."