Smartphones are a ubiquitous part of modern life, and now nearly half of humanity is connected through such devices.
As a result, the stakes have never been higher in the ultra-competitive smartphone market. Every day, companies are duking it out for any sliver they can get of global smartphone sales, which now exceed $420 billion per year.
In rapidly growing markets like China and India, the competitive environments are even more interesting. Due to rising socioeconomic circumstances and falling price points on certain models, large segments of these populations are able to purchase these devices for the first time.
These big markets are in a constant state of flux – and it’s not unusual to see top competition to get unseated.
The Chinese Smartphone Market
In the most recent quarter, Chinese smartphone shipments grew a staggering 18.7% to 135.7 million:
This rapid increase in sales comes at a time when domestic brands in China are starting to aggressively market their products.
Oppo, a brand mostly unknown across the Pacific Ocean, has more than tripled market share over the last year to unseat the incumbent Huawei. This marks the first time that Oppo has been the most popular brand in the country.
Oppo has adopted a simple but effective strategy, going after the offline market which still contributes more than 70% of total sales in China. Aggressive marketing, promotions and sponsorships, greater offline retail penetration beyond tier-2 and tier-3 cities, better retail margins, dealer support and above all head-turning, innovative smartphone designs has helped Oppo drive its sales in the last eighteen months.
– Neil Shah, Counterpoint Research
iPhone Sales Dip
Apple fell in the rankings, as consumers wait for the release of the 10th anniversary iPhone. Notably, this year-over-year decline was the first for Apple since entering the Chinese market.
Because domestic companies have greater access to manufacturers, they are beginning to roll out new features (e.g. augmented reality, flexible screens) to compete with brands like Samsung and Apple in ways never seen before. Domestic Chinese brands are generating excitement for their products and that is translating into triple-digit growth numbers for companies like Oppo and Vivo.
One thing is for certain: competition will continue to be fierce in the world’s most populous country in 2017, and the success of domestic brands will continue to have growing implications for non-Chinese brands.
Visualizing the World’s Top Plastic Emitting Rivers
Every year, 8 million metric tons of plastic enters the world’s oceans – much of it through our river systems. See which rivers are polluting the most.
Visualizing the World’s Top Plastic Emitting Rivers
Every year, approximately eight million metric tons of plastic enters the world’s oceans – the equivalent of one garbage truck of plastic every single minute.
Every plastic fork and bottle cap bobbing along the surface of the ocean has made its way to the ocean from dry land at some point. As it turns out, the hydrological cycle that keeps water circulating around the planet is also an effective means for trash to hitch a ride from our riverside cities to the open ocean.
As today’s unique, vintage-themed map – via John Nelson at ESRI – visualizes the shocking amount of plastic emitted by major rivers in the world.
It would be hard to overstate plastic’s influence on modern life.
Unfortunately, when plastic is finished doing it’s job, only 10% of it ends up being recycled. Instead, much of the 300 million tonnes of plastic produced each year ends up in the ocean, congregating in places like the Pacific Garbage Patch.
Plastic discharge is especially pronounced in large population centers along large rivers – particularly in rapidly urbanizing regions in China, Indonesia, and Nigeria.
Waste management practices are limited to non-existent in many of Asia’s fast-growing urban areas, so it comes as little surprise that 14 to the top 20 plastic emitting rivers are located on that continent.
The mighty Yangtze – China’s largest river – supports a population of over 400 million people and is the most prolific emitter of plastic waste on the planet. Over 1.5 million metric tons of plastic is unleashed into the Yellow Sea from the river each year.
Stemming the Tide
Plastic emissions data makes one point clear – China is the key to decreasing the volume of trash entering our ocean ecosystems.
The good news is that the Chinese government has recognized the problem, mandating garbage sorting in nearly 50 cities and setting a target for at 35% recycling rate by 2020. A positive first step in the battle to stem the tide of plastic entering ocean systems.
Upward Momentum: Charting a Year of Skyscraper Construction
Nearly 150 skyscrapers were completed around the world last year. Find out which cities and regions are growing skyward the fastest.
Ever since the first towering spires broke through the clouds in New York and Chicago, skyscrapers have remained a potent symbol of economic might.
The tallest buildings require vast amounts of materials, expertise, and capital to make them a reality, but the cities that add these landmarks to their skylines gain prestige and send a powerful message to competing economic centers.
Skyscraper Construction in 2018
Where are the most skyscrapers popping up? Let’s take a look at regional hot-spots around the world.
Note: For the purposes of this article, “skyscraper” will refer to buildings 656 feet (200 meters) or more in height.
China is Flying High
For well over two decades, China has led the world in skyscraper construction, and 2018 was no exception.
The country’s fixation on urban growth and continued economic success is producing tall buildings at a staggering rate. Last year, a mind-boggling 89 skyscrapers were completed in 28 different cities around China.
To put this building boom into perspective, China completed more skyscrapers in one year than New York City’s entire stock of 656ft and taller buildings.
In 2018, no city reached for the stars quite like Shenzhen. The city, which is a hub of China’s high-flying tech sector, now has the second-most skyscrapers in the world, surpassed only by Dubai.
Shenzhen isn’t just building a lot of skyscrapers, it’s building extremely tall ones too.
In 2017, for example, the ribbon was cut on the massive Ping An Finance Center, which is currently the 4th tallest building in the world. Last year alone, four new towers cracked the 1,000ft (300m) barrier.
While China’s scale is hard to beat, other cities in the region are also undergoing dramatic changes, particularly in Southeast Asia. Malaysia and Indonesia completed a combined 13 new skyscrapers, and the Vincom Landmark 81 was added to Ho Chi Minh City’s growing roster of unique skyscrapers.
While there are two skyscrapers under construction in Japan – one in Tokyo and one in Yokohama – none of them were completed last year.
A New Era of American Skyscrapers
After a two-decade lull in skyscraper construction, the United States is embracing taller buildings again. Last year alone, the U.S. added 14 new skyscrapers into the mix, particularly in New York City, where construction cranes dot the horizon. In the past decade, NYC has added 25 new skyscrapers to its iconic skyline.
This trend is showing no signs of slowing down. Between now and 2022, 44 skyscraper projects are expected to be completed in the United States, with the vast majority being built in the Big Apple.
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