HomeNewsBusinessA New Foldable Smartphone Rivals Apple iPhone's Popularity in China

A New Foldable Smartphone Rivals Apple iPhone’s Popularity in China

In the latest “hot sales” smartphone rankings on JD.com, a popular Chinese e-commerce site, the Honor Magic V2 foldable smartphone is in fierce competition with various Apple iPhone models for the top three spots.

Honor, which was previously a part of Huawei but has now been spun off as an independent brand, officially released the Magic V2 on July 12. The beginning price of the smartphone was set at 8,999 yuan, or roughly $1,245.

It seems that the Honor Magic V2’s innovative foldable design and features have garnered significant attention and interest from Chinese consumers, making it a strong contender against Apple’s iPhone models in the highly competitive smartphone market.

As of Thursday, the official sales for the Honor Magic V2 began, and the demand during the pre-sale period has been significant. According to the JD.com app, a popular site for buying goods in China, the delivery times for new orders have been pushed back to mid-September as a result of the overwhelming demand.

Chinese Smartphone Market Competition: Foldables vs. Apple iPhone Models

Among the smartphone sales on JD.com, the 9,999-yuan model of the Magic V2 ranked second in popularity as of Thursday morning. The top spot was claimed by a 7,799-yuan Apple iPhone 14 Pro, while the iPhone 13 held the third position.

The Honor Magic V2 boasts an innovative foldable design, allowing it to be folded to a thickness of 9.9 millimeters, which is nearly as thin as the iPhone’s 7.85 millimeters without a case. When folded, the Magic V2 measures approximately three-eighths of an inch in thickness. This thin and foldable design is likely contributing to its appeal and success in the market.

According to Ethan Qi, an associate director at Counterpoint Research, the Honor Magic V2 has successfully achieved a balance between thinness and “reasonable battery life.” Its standout features include being the thinnest in the industry with a body thickness of 9.9mm and the lightest, weighing only 231g.

Honor claims that the Magic V2’s battery is an impressive 2.72 millimeters thick and can support about 14 hours of video watching on the phone’s unfolded large screen. In comparison, the iPhone 14 boasts about 20-30 hours of video watching on a single battery charge, depending on the specific iPhone model.

The pre-sales figures of the Magic V2 in China have been positive, indicating the resilience and strength of the premium smartphone segment. This trend bodes well for the growth of foldable smartphones in the country. While the premium segment might not be the largest, it is the category that every smartphone manufacturer desires to succeed in due to its high-value customers and potential for innovation and differentiation.

Samsung is gearing up to launch new foldable smartphones that are expected to be slimmer and lighter, as teased in a blog post. The launch event, titled “Join the Flip Side,” is scheduled for July 26 and will be livestreamed in China.

Currently, Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold4 is priced at 10,999 yuan on JD.com, while the Galaxy Z Flip3, which unfolds like a flip phone, is listed at 4,699 yuan.

Other major smartphone brands like Huawei, Xiaomi, and Vivo also offer foldable devices in the premium price range in China.

The Rise of Foldable Smartphones: A Growing Trend in China

A bright spot in the dimming global smartphone market are foldable devices. China’s market for foldable smartphones experienced excellent growth in the first quarter of the year, Counterpoint Research reports, more than tripling from the same period last year with 1.08 million units sold. This contributed to a 64% year-on-year growth in the global foldable smartphone market during the same period.

In contrast, the first quarter saw a 14.2% fall in the global smartphone market as a whole, compared to a softer 8% decline in China’s market. Honor, which was formerly a brand under Huawei, also sells its smartphones internationally. However, specific plans for the Magic V2 in international markets are yet to be revealed.

In China, Honor sells its phones on major e-commerce platforms such as Douyin (the local version of TikTok), Alibaba’s Tmall, and the Kuaishou short video app. According to data from the Ministry of Commerce, livestreaming has grown to be a substantial sales channel in China. Livestreaming sales made up over $180 billion, or 17.7%, of all online retail sales in the first half of the year.

Honor has seen success in selling the Magic V2 through Douyin, where they have sold over 10,000 units as of Thursday morning.

After being a brand under Huawei, Honor was sold to a consortium of buyers, including the government of Shenzhen, where the company’s headquarters are located. This happened as a response to the U.S. sanctions imposed on Huawei, prompting the separation of Honor as an independent brand.

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