Shipments for wearable devices worldwide reached 102.4 million in 2016 and grew by 25% over the same time last year, according to IDC. This is despite industry speculation of the death of the wearables market, and Fitbit, a global leader in wearable devices, saw its stock price plummet to USD 6.07 from USD 32.50 in June 2015 when the company had its initial public offering. AllChinaTech has picked out the top five wearable device makers in China to show a snapshot of China’s wearable scene.
Xiaomi is a game changer in China’s smartphone and gadget industry. Founded by Lei Jun in 2010, the company started its business by selling smartphones with price performance ratios much lower than its competitors. Xiaomi first gained popularity among hardcore gadget users, and then later to the mass consumer market.
In July 2014, Xiaomi unveiled its first generation of Mi Band and priced it at RMB 79 (USD 11). At that time, prices offered by Mi Band’s competitors were several times that of Mi Band’s. In 2015, the company sold more than 10 million units of Mi Band. In June last year, Xiaomi launched its Mi Band 2 at RMB 149 (USD 23), which holds a heart rate sensor and allows users to instantly read their heart rate.
Xiaomi’s strategy of Mi Band was successful, as Mi Band saw its 2016 shipments at 15.7 million, making Xiaomi the second largest wearable device manufacturer in the world by shipment, according to the latest report by IDC.
The five largest wearable device manufacturers in Q4 2015 in the Chinese market by shipment are Xiaomi, Lifesense, Apple, BBK Electronics Corporation (BBK), and Huawei, as reported by IDC China.
Lifesense started as an original equipment manufacturer and was founded in 2002 in southeastern China’s Guangdong province. In 2014, it partnered with WeChat to produce a band. Lifesense’s shipment in Q4 2015 reached 800,000 in the Chinese market, according to IDC China.
So far, Lifesense’s wearable products include a watch – the RMB 399 Mambo Watch – and four bands with prices varying from RMB 169 to RMB 399.
BBK’s subsidiary, Xiaotiancai or ‘little genius’ in English, turned out to be the dark horse in China’s wearable market by targeting a specific group of users – children. BBK deployed a mature and sophisticated distribution system since it was founded in 1995.
The company launched so many advertisement campaigns that it is nearly the default name for children smartwatches in China. The RMB 998 watch’s features include the ability to make phone calls, waterproof, and GPS. Xiaotiancai children smartwatch’s shipment for Q4 2015 reached 400,000, according to IDC China.
Like its competitors around the world, leading Chinese smartphone manufacturer Huawei has made some high-profile moves in the wearable device sector.
Based in Guangdong, Huawei launched the Huawei Watch in September 2015, and it is unlike other smartwatches that display apps on the screen. The price of Huawei’s pretty watch start from USD 349 all the way up to USD 799.
In January last year, Huawei unveiled a pair of smartwatches at CES targeting female consumers – the Jewel and the Elegant. The company sold these two watches at USD 599 and USD 499 respectively.
Huawei saw its wearable shipment for Q4 2015 at 400,000, according to IDC China.
Google-backed Mobvoi is a smartwatch startup focused on voice recognition technology. Its smartwatch Ticwatch challenges Apple Watch with its advanced artificial intelligence technology.
The technology-driven company was founded in October 2012 by Li Zhifei, an ex-Google scientist. Mobvoi in June 2015 launched smartwatch Ticwatch with its own operating system Ticwear 4.0. Currently, the price for Ticwatch starts at USD 199.
In October 2015, Beijing-based Mobvoi became Google Android Wear’s strategic partner in voice searching. In July last year, Mobvoi entered the North American market by releasing an English version of its Ticwatch 2 on Kickstarter, and the watch raised USD 500,000 on Kickstarter within three days.
(Top photo from Pixabay.com)