Chinese brands fill void left by global brands in Russia

Now, Chinese brands have taken over almost entirely, accounting for 95 per cent of the market a year later…reports Asian Lite News

Over the past year, hundreds of global brands have fled Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine. That’s forced Russians to find alternatives for everything from smartphones to cars, media reported.

The companies benefiting: Chinese competitors. Smartphone giant Xiaomi and automaker Geely are among those that have seen sales surge in recent months, industry data shows, CNN reported.

Where iPhones and Samsung Galaxies were once bestsellers, models from Xiaomi and another Chinese vendor, Realme, now top the sales charts, according to Counterpoint Research.

Chinese manufacturers were already popular in Russia before the war, accounting for approximately 40 per cent of the smartphone market in December 2021. Now, they’ve taken over almost entirely, accounting for 95 per cent of the market a year later, according to Counterpoint data, CNN reported.

Meanwhile, Samsung and Apple – which typically held the number one and two spots, respectively – saw their combined market share drop from 53 per cent to just 3 per cent over the same period as they pulled out of the country, CNN reported.

A similar story is playing out on Russia’s roads. Over the past year, Chinese carmakers Chery and Great Wall Motor have jumped into the top 10 passenger vehicle brands, while Germany’s BMW and Mercedes have disappeared, according to data from S&P Global Mobility.

Russians bought a record number of Chinese cars last year, according to data provider Autostat. Chinese new car sales in the country rose 7 per cent in 2022, to 121,800 vehicles, even as the market crashed, it said in a report last month.

Like Renault, global automakers pulled out of Russia following its invasion of Ukraine, including Hyundai and Kia, the other large foreign players there.

“It left a huge hole in the market,” said Tu Le, founder of Beijing-based consulting firm Sino Auto Insights. “And the Chinese are glad to fill that hole,” CNN reported.

Xiaomi, Realme and Honor, the budget brand formerly owned by Chinese tech giant Huawei, “reacted quickly to grab the opportunity,” said Jan Stryjak, an associate director of Counterpoint Research. They increased shipments to Russia by 39 per cent, 190 per cent and 24 per cent respectively in the third quarter of 2022, compared to the previous quarter.

Xiaomi has been the main beneficiary, doubling its market share throughout the year. The Beijing-based company is now Russia’s top seller of smartphones, in large part because of its popular Redmi line, an affordable range of devices known for high camera quality, CNN reported.

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