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16 Feb 2017

IDC Malaysia: OPPO and Huawei Make Strides as Samsung Remains Malaysia's Top Smartphone Player in 2016

KUALA LUMPUR, 17th Feb 2017 - According to the latest International Data Corporation (IDC) Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, total smartphone shipments in Malaysia recorded approximately 2.7 million units in 2016Q4, bringing 2016 to a close with approximately 8.8 million units shipped, a reported 5.9% decline year-over-year (YoY).

The YoY smartphone shipment slowdown was caused by various negative economic factors. However, smartphone shipments still recorded activity as it was driven by consumers’ need to upgrade their phones to better ones that come with higher specifications such as larger memory size, battery capacity, camera quality, etc. Meanwhile, vendors and resellers experienced minor setbacks as their profits were squeezed, mainly due to the weakening Malaysian Ringgit (MYR) against the greenback combined with other rising costs.

“The market situation led local resellers to opt to upsell brands that not only have better margins, but have become popular with consumers, mainly Samsung and China brands such as Huawei, OPPO, and vivo. Budget- and brand-conscious consumers are increasingly opting for brands that have become globally renowned via aggressive marketing initiatives and well-built devices,” says Jensen Ooi, Market Analyst, Client Devices, IDC Asia/Pacific.

  • Samsung remains number 1 driven by the popularity of the Galaxy J series with the budget-conscious crowd. The Galaxy Note 7 fiasco had minimal impact to Samsung's overall performance in Malaysia as the high-end range was not its key seller in Malaysia.
  • Apple climbed to second place – its usual position during the seasonal release of the new iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. As always, majority of the smartphones were sold on telco contracts.
  • OPPO maintained its growth trajectory attracting a large customer base with the help of its usual marketing initiatives. It also focused on a few key products, mainly the F1 series that has gained interest among the selfie-loving crowd.
  • Huawei's P9 series remained popular almost a year since its release. The dual camera function is one of the key drivers for its growth, being one of the few Android devices with such features available in the local market.
  • Asus was sidelined by louder brands such as OPPO and vivo in terms of marketing initiatives. Its Zenfone 3 lacked flair compared with the Zenfone 2, which was released back in 2015.

In 2017, IDC expects vendors will streamline their model lineups, particularly the large vendors, as they attempt to move toward midrange/high-end devices to better manage their resources and stay relevant in the market. Meanwhile, low-end devices catered to the budget-conscious consumers will mainly be supplied by either operator brands or lesser known brands. The prices of each new generation of smartphone released will also be higher compared with the last due to new features and the currency impact, which is unlikely to improve anytime soon.

For more information about the research, please contact Jensen Ooi at For media inquiries, please contact Trista Efendi at

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For more information, contact:

Jensen Zhen Sern Ooi
+603 7663 2147

Trista Efendi
+603 7663 2212