Three of China's top smartphone manufacturers – Huawei, Oppo and BBK Communication Equipment – have experienced enough growth to see them close the gap on Apple and Samsung, the industry's biggest players.
This is according to the findings of a new report from market research and advisory firm Gartner, which specified that these three vendors accounted for 21 per cent of smartphones sold to users all over the world in the third quarter of 2016.
Overall, global sales of smartphones grew by 5.4 per cent year-on-year, but the three Chinese companies were the only ones in the world's top five to increase their sales and market share during the three month period ending in September.
Global sales of smartphones to end users totaled 373 million units in time frame. Overall sales of mobile phones declined by 1.3 per cent, but this was largely due to the continuing decline of the feature phone.
Research director at Gartner Anshul Gupta said that China definitely led the world smartphone market for the quarter, as sales of the devices in the country increased by 12.4 per cent.
He singled out BBK as a particularly strong performer, because it accounted for 89 per cent of all smartphone sales in China, while 81 per cent of Oppo's device sales came from the country. Both of these vendors also experienced strong growth in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Russia.
In terms of the performance of the industry leaders, Samsung enjoyed a strong start to the quarter, although its performance was adversely affected by the battery problem that caused some Galaxy Note 7 smartphones to catch fire.
This led to lower sales of the company's high-end and high-profile line of Note products – and Mr Gupta said withdrawing the product was the correct decision but could make it difficult for the firm to increase smartphone sales in the short term.
“For Samsung, it's crucial that the Galaxy S8 launches successfully, so that partners and customers regain trust in its brand,” he remarked.
Roberta Cozza, research director at Gartner, said the withdrawal of the Galaxy Note 7 may work to the advantage of other Android smartphone makers.
“Note 7 users are likely to stay with Samsung or at least with Android,” she commented.
“To some extent, other Android vendors could capitalise on this situation in the short term – for example, Huawei and other Chinese brands present in the premium Android phone segment. The Note 7's withdrawal also comes at a good time for Google in mature markets, where it's Pixel and Pixel XL devices have started selling.”