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Chinese smartphone makers look to Thailand for new opportunities

Chinese vendors are pouring increasing amounts of investment into Thailand’s smartphone market as they look to supplant South Korean vendor Samsung as the market’s leading device manufacturer.

Equipment and device supplier Huawei is tripling its marketing budget in Thailand, with the short-term goal of pushing its market share above 10% and taking second place by the end of 2017. In the long term, it aims to be the country’s largest smartphone brand by 2020, according to the deputy country director for its Thai consumer business, Tossaporn Nisthanon.

Another Chinese firm increasing its marketing spend in Thailand is Oppo, the world’s fourth largest smartphone manufacturer. It took third place in the Thai market last year, supplanting Huawei following a 76% leap in Thai handset sales, and is accordingly increasing its advertising budget by 20% to THB1 billion ($28.5 million).

Taiwan’s Asus also saw strong results in 2016 having pushed its global marketing budget up from 3.5% to 5% of revenue, and is forecasting its revenue in Thailand to increase by 20% over the next year.  It will increase the amount of branded retail outlets in the market from five to ten across 2017 – a move echoed by Huawei, which is adding a further 1000 stores to take its total to 8000.

Oppo’s sales director for Thailand, Chanon Jirayuakul, has stated that the firm anticipates Chinese smartphone firms to increase their share of the Thai market, overtaking Samsung across the next two to five years. Samsung had a 40% share of the Thai smartphone market at the end of 2016, followed by Apple, Oppo, Huawei and Asus.