Oppo became the largest smartphone maker in China for the first time ever, reports Counterpoint Research. This is the result of two factors: Oppo’s rise and Huawei’s decline.

In January Oppo captured 21% of the Chinese market, putting it on top. Fellow BBK brand Vivo was close behind with 20%, tied with the ailing Huawei. Behind that are Apple and Xiaomi, both at 16%.

The timeline of Oppo’s growth. Its market share in January increased 33% compared to December and 26% compared to January 2020. Note that the company’s 5G models are tracked separately as Counterpoint marks them as key drivers of growth.

Furthermore, it's not difficult to perceive any reason why – 5G cell phones made up 65% of all units sold in China during the last quarter of 2020. This additionally clarifies Huawei's troubles.

The organization can source 4G chips, yet for 5G telephones, it needs to depend on the chips it stored before the exchange limitations became effective. In this way, Huawei has moved its concentration to the superior market where net revenues are higher (however deals volumes are lower).

Oppo was able to capture the ceded market share. The analysts point to the successful Reno5 mid-ranger and the affordable A-series, both of which have 5G models at various price points.

Huawei’s decrease has been beneficial for Xiaomi too. Interestingly, it and the BBK brands are advancing on different fronts – Xiaomi is eating into Huawei’s online business, Oppo and Vivo are doing better in offline sales.

It's Obvious that the sale of Honor also led to a sharp decline in market share. Previously, the analysts tracked the combined Huawei + Honor numbers. The figures show the quarter by quarter changes in market share leading up to January’s upset.