For the first time in six years, the supposedly emerging mobile market in China is showing signs of slowing down as the year over year figures show it has contracted 4% in the first quarter of 2015,, according to a the Mobile Phone Tracker report from the IDC. Of course it isn’t time yet to panic, especially for those who have invested in this market, but it just goes to show that they are nearing saturation point, and so the focus has to somehow change.

Also, surprisingly, Xiaomi has now been dethroned as the top selling smartphone brand, at least in the first quarter of this year. Apple is now number 1, which is probably due to the fact that people prefer the larger screens on their two newest models, the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus. Huawei is still solid at third as they are seeing increase in sales in the mid-range segment. Meanwhile, Samsung and Lenovo are fourth and fifth respectively, not gaining ground when they placed first sometime last year but eventually lost that position.

Again, this doesn’t mean that we start declaring that mobile phones will not sell anymore in China. It’s just that all markets reach saturation point at one time or another. The challenge now is to convince those who already have smartphones, and those that are still stuck on feature phones to get new devices. Some of the OEMs like Huwaei, Lenovo, and Xiaomi are even widening their product reach and coming up with high-end devices to compete with the more expensive ones.

The Chinese brands like Huawei and Xiaomi will also have to look at expanding their reach to international markets, since the local one is already slowing down. India, Southeast Asia, and even the US are some markets that can be targeted, as there has been international interest in some of the gadgets they’ve been releasing the past few months.

SOURCE: IDC