BEIJING, Feb. 7 (Xinhua) -- Three Chinese brands, OPPO, Huawei and Vivo, outperformed Apple and Xiaomi to become the top three smartphone vendors in China in terms of shipments in 2016.
For the first time, OPPO sold the most, 78.4 million mobile handsets in China last year, soaring 122.2 percent from 2015, according to a report released Monday by the International Data Corporation (IDC).
In 2015, OPPO was ranked fourth in a similar IDC list.
Vivo was the fifth largest smartphone vendor in 2015, but was third in 2016 with a 96.9 percent surge in sales to 69.2 million handsets, the report said.
Both brands were popular among the young, especially fashionable young women, due to celebrity endorsements, embedded advertisments in entertainment programs and a well developed brick-and-motar retail network in smaller cities.
"Their brands became increasingly recognized by consumers through intensive brand exposure and word of mouth," the report said .
Huawei stayed second, up 21.8 percent to 76.6 million units. Its market share edged up slightly from a year earlier to 16.4 percent in 2016.
The top three Chinese brands grabbed a total of 48 percent of the Chinese market last year.
Jin Di, a research manager with IDC China, said another reason behind the success of Chinese brands was their willingness to share profits with distribution partners.
Apple dropped from third in 2015 to fourth in 2016, as shipments to China plunged 23.2 percent to 44.9 million units.
Xiaomi was top in 2015, but fell to the bottom of the top-five vendors, with a 36 percent plunge in sales in China.
Total smartphone shipment volume in China rose 8.7 percent to 467.3 million handsets last year.
The IDC forecast that the volume in 2017 will continue to grow as consumers replace old phones, but that the growth will be slower than 2016.
New changes are likely in China's smartphone market this year due to fierce competition among Chinese manufacturers, the IDC said.
Worldwide, the top five smartphone vendors in terms of shipments last year were Samsung, Apple, Huawei, OPPO and Vivo.