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Apple iPhone: OPPO and Vivo founder reveals why it's slipping in China

OPPO and Vivo founder Duan Yongping blames Apple’s stubbornness for its fall in China.

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In what sounded like an honest to god words, OPPO (and Vivo) founder Duan Yongping has revealed his opinion on the reason behind Apple’s decline in Chinese iPhone shipments during 2016. And Yongping blames the same on the fact that the company fails to adapt its device pricing to suit the Chinese market.

The year 2016 was a bit rough for Apple in China as it fell from the position of the top three smartphone manufacturers in the country, down to fifth. Huawei topped the charts, followed by Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi. Even in India, the companies have stolen a march over Apple, where together, they have a 16.2 percent share of the market according to researcher IDC, and only Samsung, with 25.1 percent has more.

According to Yongping, Apple’s iPhone business in China suffers from Apple’s continued stubbornness. He says Apple continues to seek high profit margins even if that costs them business in countries such as China and India. “Apple couldn’t beat us in China because even they have flaws. They’re maybe too stubborn sometimes. They made a lot of great things, like their operating system, but we surpass them in other areas,” Yongping said in an interview with Bloomberg.

He pointed out that, without an installment plan an iPhone 7 starts at 5,388 Yuan in China, or about Rs 51,000, potentially as much as a person’s monthly wages. Even an iPhone SE costs there at 3,288 Yuan, which is about Rs 32,000.

However, that does not mean that Yongping thinks any less of Apple. Rather, he really appreciates the company and their innovation. “Apple is an extraordinary company. It is a model for us to learn from,” he said. “We don’t have the concept of surpassing anyone, the focus instead is to improve ourselves.” In fact, Yongping is actually a major Apple investor and a fan of CEO Tim Cook, with whom he claims to have met several times. Although Apple couldn’t confirm Duan’s meeting with Cook when contacted by BloombergALSO READ: Apple CEO Tim Cook defends globalization during public speech in China

It was the first iPhone, which was released in 2007, which actually paved the way for OPPO and Vivo. Once derided as cheap iPhone knockoffs, the two companies have eventually managed to leapfrog the rankings dramatically. While both OPPO and Vivo share a common founder, the two brands have always been seen at fierce competition against each other, in markets from India to Southeast Asia.

  • Published Date: March 21, 2017 1:01 PM IST