[News] Interim CEO and CFO of Vivo India Company, Among Other Executives, Arrested

Recently, as Indian media cited anonymous sources, that the Indian law enforcement agency arrested three executives of Vivo India Company on charges of alleged involvement in a money laundering case.

As per The Times of India, the individuals arrested by the Indian law enforcement agency in this case are Hong Xuquan, the interim CEO of vivo India, along with Harinder Dahiya, the CFO of Vivo India, and the company consultant Hemant Munjal.

The three have been taken into custody under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). Reportedly, an ED spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for a comment. Furthermore, the Vivo employees is said to be appear in court on December 26.

Vivo spokesperson has responded accordingly that, “We are deeply alarmed by the current action of the authorities. The recent arrests demonstrate continued harassment and as such induce an environment of uncertainty amongst the wider industry landscape. We are resolute in using all legal avenues to address and challenge these accusations.”

According to The Times of India, in October of this year, the Indian law enforcement agency arrested four individuals, including Vivo’s chartered accountant Nitin Garg.

The report further states that from 2014 to the present, Vivo India has been allegedly probing suspicious transactions, which were remitted by the company to China from Rs 1.25 lakh crore of receipts from its Indian operations since 2014

“Various Chinese nationals have been traveling across India, including sensitive places of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, in gross violation of Indian visa conditions.” the agency added.

Previously, as per  Hindustan Times, the Indian government banned numerous Chinese apps, accusing them of being “prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of the state and public order.” Since June 2020, more than 200 Chinese apps, including popular ones such as TikTok, WeChat, and UC Browser, have been banned.

The government has also stated in its parliament indicating that, Chinese smartphone makers, including Xiaomi, Realme, Oppo, and Vivo, have been found evading taxes to the tune of Rs 9,000 crore in India.

(Photo credit: Vivo)

Please note that this article cites information from Hindustan Times and The Times of India


[News] Can Foldable Phones Become Lifeline for the Declining Global Smartphone Market?

The global smartphone market has seen a continuous decline for nine consecutive quarters, with only the foldable phone category remaining resilient and maintaining growth. Android smartphone manufacturers seem to view this category as a lifeline, having released a total of 13 new foldable phones in the past three months, setting a record for the number of new foldable phones introduced in half a year.

The intensified release of foldable phone models not only reflects the sense of urgency among smartphone manufacturers but also signifies a shift towards foldable technology in the mobile industry.

Currently, the foldable phone market is not as well-established as the traditional flat-screen market, presenting opportunities and variables. All Android manufacturers aim to leverage foldable phones to enhance their market positioning, achieve high-end differentiation, and engage in distinctive competition with Apple.

In fact, during the third quarter, there were subtle changes in the landscape of the foldable phone market in China according to IJIWEI’s report. Huawei, which once dominated the foldable phone market, has seen its market share decline. OPPO and Honor have managed to surpass Huawei in terms of sales volume in the flip-fold and single-product categories.

Next year, Huawei and Samsung plan to introduce more competitively priced foldable phones, and other Android manufacturers are expected to follow suit, driving accelerated expansion in the foldable phone market.

13 New Foldable Phones Launched in 3 Months

In the latter half of this year, smartphone manufacturers including Honor, OPPO, Xiaomi, Samsung, Huawei and Transsion, have been on a roll, releasing a remarkable 13 new foldable phones within just three months. This surge in foldable phone launches has almost doubled the number of foldable devices introduced in the first half of the year.

Each smartphone manufacturer has focused on different aspects of foldable phones. Honor has been particularly aggressive in the foldable phone market, introducing three new models in just four months, constantly pushing the boundaries of thinness. In July, Honor managed to reduce the thickness of foldable phones to the millimeter era with a body thickness of 9.9mm.

In September, the Honor V Purse, an outward folding phone, had a body thickness of 8.6mm in its folded state and weighed only 214g, once again setting a new record for slim foldable phones in the market. In October, the Honor Magic Vs2 weighed 229g, refreshing the record for slim large-sized inward folding phones.

On the other hand, OPPO and Xiaomi have emphasized the imaging performance of their foldable phones. In addition, Samsung, Huawei, Transsion, OnePlus, and other manufacturers have each introduced innovative models like the Galaxy Z Flip 5/Fold 5, Samsung W24/W24 Flip, OnePlus Open, Huawei Mate X5, and PHANTOM V Flip 5G, incorporating cutting-edge technology into foldable phones and significantly enhancing the foldable phone experience. This surge in foldable phone innovation has become one of the standout features in this year’s smartphone market.

Reasons for the Proliferation of Foldable Phones

Recent intense launches of new foldable phones by smartphone manufacturers reflect their strong sense of urgency in the Android market.

Global smartphone markets have been persistently sluggish, declining for nine consecutive quarters due to factors like inflation, market saturation, and longer upgrade cycles. Traditional flat smartphones are no longer able to drive sustained market growth, and the smartphone market is in need of new growth engines.

Foldable phones, with their differentiated form and innovative experiences, have the potential to stimulate consumer upgrades, and smartphone manufacturers have high hopes for them, leading to the frequent release of new foldable phone models.

Currently, foldable phones are considered high-end products, and the intense launch of new foldable phone models by Android smartphone manufacturers is aimed at achieving brand premiumization and establishing differentiation from Apple.

In an effort to break through the high-end market stronghold that Apple has established, Android smartphone manufacturers, led by Samsung, have not only upgraded their high-end flat smartphones but have also been actively promoting foldable phone innovations, different from the iPhone 15 series. They aim to stimulate consumer upgrades and attract more high-end users who value large-screen experiences.

Price Key to Boosting Foldable Smartphone Penetration

In recent months, Android smartphone manufacturers have been consistently releasing new foldable phone models, driving up foldable phone sales and contributing to increased market penetration in the high-end smartphone segment during the latter half of the year.

Supply chain sources have also revealed that Samsung is planning to bring foldable phones to the mid-range market next year, further reducing price barriers and making foldable phones more accessible to a broader range of consumers.

This year, the lowest price for foldable phones has already dropped to 3,659 yuan (RMB), setting a new record. In the upcoming year, more manufacturers will introduce higher-value foldable phone products, thus accelerating the broader adoption of foldable phones.

TrendForce believes that the driving force behind the foldable market’s expansion is the reduced costs and the expansion strategies of Chinese brands.

Looking at TrendForce’s estimated numbers , by 2023, shipments of foldable smartphones could skyrocket to an impressive 18.3 million units, marking a 43% YoY surge. However, this only captures a slim 1.6% of the year’s total smartphone market. Fast forward to 2024, a 38% growth is anticipated, translating to a hefty 25.2 million units and nudging the market share up to 2.2%.

Looking at the medium to long term, TrendForce believes the expansion of the foldable smartphone market is inevitable. By 2027, shipments could soar to a whopping 70 million units, seizing around 5% of the global smartphone market.

At the same time, foldable phone manufacturers are exploring new product forms and driving advancements in end-user applications. While there are certain limitations in terms of size for dual-foldable screen phones, many companies have already started working on triple-foldable screen products.

Recent reports from industry insiders suggest that Huawei’s development of a triple-foldable screen phone is progressing smoothly and may be ready for launch before March next year. It’s expected that two triple-foldable screen phones will be introduced in 2024.

On the other hand, Apple’s strategy for foldable devices differs from many Android phone manufacturers, as they are more focused on mature products and not in a hurry to release foldable phones.

According to TrendForce’s research, to date, Apple’s foray into foldables has been tepid due to Apple’s unwavering obsession with user experience.

Persistent challenges with foldable tech—think panel evenness and hinge design—might be holding them back. Still, achieving perfection with larger foldable panels is somewhat simpler than their smaller counterparts. The possibility for Apple to leapfrog right into medium-sized foldable products – like laptops or tablets – still remains.

(Photo credit: Phantom)


[News] Oppo and Transsion Expand to Southeast Asia, with a Focus on Foldable Phones

According to IJIWEI’s report, as the return of Huawei intensifies competition in the Chinese market, Chinese smartphone manufacturers such as OPPO and Transsion are venturing into the Southeast Asian market, a move that is expected to pave the way for sales recovery in the coming year.

In September this year, OPPO hosted a global launch event in Singapore for two high-end foldable smartphones, the Find N3 and N3 Flip.

Elvis Zhou, Chief Marketing Officer for OPPO’s overseas division, stated that the smartphone industry is expected to make a recovery in 2024 and 2025, with foldable smartphones playing a crucial role. While shipment volumes may not be as high, foldable smartphones have been growing at a rate of over 100% annually, and their average selling prices far exceed those of regular smartphones, creating significant value. This is why OPPO is fully committed to foldable phones.

Andy Shi, President of OPPO’s Asia-Pacific region, emphasized Singapore’s significance as a pivotal hub with substantial economic and political influence in the Southeast Asian region. He pointed out that a large number of high-end smartphone users who frequently travel for work are key influencers in this area.

The decision to launch OPPO products in Singapore is aimed at leveraging this advantage for further market development. Despite existing macroeconomic uncertainties, Andy Shi expresses optimism, anticipating moderate growth in the Asia-Pacific region for the upcoming year.

Furthermore, Tecno, a subsidiary of Transsion Holdings that has been known for its long-term focus on entry-level smartphone models in Africa, has recently introduced its latest foldable smartphone in Singapore, marking its debut in the Southeast Asian market.

According to TrendForce’s data, Transsion, along with its subsidiaries Tecno, Infinix, and itel, has not only outperformed Vivo but also claimed the fifth position in the global market during Q2. The company’s growth trajectory is expected to sustain its momentum in Q3.

Regarding the development of the folding phone market, TrendForce has also stated in a previous press release that shipments are poised to surge dramatically to 18.3 million units, marking a 43% year-on-year increase by 2023. Nevertheless, this only constitutes a modest 1.6% of the total smartphone market for the year. Looking ahead to 2024, the growth is expected to continue, with a 38% increase, resulting in a substantial 25.2 million units and pushing the market share to 2.2%.

(Photo credit: Phantom)


[News] China Lost 180 Million Orders from the Rise of India’s Mobile Phones Manufacturing

Source to China Times, as India continues to solidify its position in the global mobile phone manufacturing supply chain, industry analysts predict significant shifts in production dynamics. Apple, for instance, is expected to move 25% of its production to India by 2025, in addition to Chinese brands like Xiaomi, OPPO, and vivo, which have already established manufacturing operations in the country. This trend has led to a scenario where India has substantially reduced its reliance on importing mobile phones from China, posing a substantial challenge to Chinese smartphone manufacturers and potentially resulting in the loss of annual orders for up to 180 million devices.

TrendForce believes that while Apple has such plans in place, the actual execution and achievement of these goals may face challenges.

The typical process of an iPhone involves design work at Apple’s headquarters in the United States, the use of main chips from American chip manufacturers and foundry services from TSMC, key components supplied by companies in Japan and South Korea, and the provision of remaining parts by Chinese manufacturers. The final assembly takes place at Foxconn’s factory in Zhengzhou, China, before the phones are air-shipped to destinations worldwide.

Since September of the previous year, an increasing number of consumers have noticed the label “Assembled in India” on the packaging of their iPhone 14 devices. This indicates that a growing proportion of Apple’s phones are being produced in India. Apple’s plan to shift 25% of its production to India by 2025 aligns with this trend.

Meanwhile, Chinese smartphone manufacturers such as Xiaomi, OPPO, and vivo are also actively manufacturing in India, and Samsung currently produces all of its flagship phones in the country. These developments are reshaping the landscape of mobile phone trade between China and India. In 2014, China exported a staggering 180 million phones to India annually. However, as India’s mobile manufacturing ecosystem matures, its reliance on importing complete phones from China has dwindled.

Data from the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) reveals that, following Indian Prime Minister Modi’s “Make in India” push in 2015, India’s share of globally manufactured phones surged to 11%, surpassing Vietnam and making it the second-largest mobile phone manufacturing country after China. Additionally, statistics show that from 2014 to 2022, India’s cumulative mobile phone production exceeded 2 billion units, with a CAGR growth rate of 23%. (Image credit: Apple)

(Source: https://www.chinatimes.com/newspapers/20231004000745-260309?chdtv)

[News] Mate 60 Went Viral, Huawei May Set to Top 1 in China’s Smartphone Market in September

Source to media China Times, after an extensive promotional campaign, Huawei’s Mate 60 smartphone, which has regained attention in mainland China’s media and online platforms, has finally secured the second position in the Chinese domestic smartphone market for the 36th week (4th~10th, Sep.), with a 17% market share. It is just a 0.2% difference from the top-ranked Honor smartphone. Supply chain sources estimate that by the 37th week (11th~17th, Sep.), Huawei could potentially claim the top spot in market share.

According to reports from “Mydrivers,” Huawei’s smartphone sales have been improving lately, thanks to media and online promotion of the Mate 60. Data from authoritative market research organizations in the supply chain indicates that in week 36 (4th~10th, Sep.), Huawei achieved a 17% market share in smartphone sales, securing the second position in the Chinese smartphone market.

The report notes that although Huawei is ranked second, this achievement in market share comes amidst “well-known significant pressures.” Moreover, it trails only 0.2% behind the top-ranked Honor (17.2%). Supply chain insiders anticipate that by week 37 (11th~17th, Sep.), Huawei is poised to claim the top spot in market share, a remarkable feat considering the significant pressures facing the company.

The report highlights that Huawei’s current sales situation is characterized by a shortage of the entire Mate 60 lineup. Supply chain sources reveal that orders for the Mate 60 Pro have increased to 15-17 million units. Information from distributors indicates that Huawei began comprehensive sales of the Mate 60 Pro in physical stores starting from September 10th.

Analysts had previously expressed optimism about Huawei’s return to the high-end smartphone market in mainland China. The previous Mate50 series achieved sales of approximately 5 million units, and it is expected that the Mate 60 series could surpass 6 million units.

According to TrendForce research on the ranking of 2Q23 smartphone production, in China, Transsion (including TECNO, Infinix, and itel) eclipsed Vivo to secure the fifth spot for the first time ever. TrendFroce reveals that Transsion’s high production output benefited from a trifecta of inventory replenishment, new product launches, and its entry into mid-to-high-end markets. Demonstrating robust production performance since March, the company’s growth trajectory is poised to extend its momentum into Q3. Meanwhile, Vivo (including Vivo and iQoo) is treading cautiously amid a sluggish global economy, which is evident in its conservative production plan: Vivo churned out 23 million units in Q2—a modest quarterly increase of 15%—and as a result, slipped to sixth place in global rankings.

Xiaomi (including Xiaomi, Redmi, and POCO) is reveling in a bountiful Q2, posting production numbers of around 35 million units—a staggering seasonal uptick of 32.1%. This boom can be attributed to a strategic depletion of channel inventory coupled with the allure of new product launches. However, Xiaomi’s channel inventory still runs high, setting the stage for a Q3 that is likely to mirror its Q2 performance. On the other side of the spectrum, Oppo (including Oppo, Real, and OnePlus) also had a fruitful Q2. The brand primarily rode the wave of rebounding demand in Southeast Asia and other regions, amassing approximately 33.6 million units and marking a seasonal leap of 25.4%. With seasonal demands on the horizon, Oppo’s Q3 production is poised for an estimated growth of 10~15%, primarily targeting markets in China, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Latin America, hot on Xiaomi’s heels.

Currently, the top-ranking Honor smartphone is also a Chinese smartphone manufacturer. Originally launched as a sub-brand under Huawei’s product line series in September 2011, it began independent operations on December 16, 2013. Towards the end of 2020, Honor separated from Huawei, and there were multiple rumors about Honor’s independent listing preparations, which the company denied. (Image credit: Huawei)

(Source: https://www.chinatimes.com/realtimenews/20230921005374-260409?chdtv)
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