Chinese Brands are Shaking Up the $420B Smartphone Market
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.
Nvidia Joins the Trillion Dollar Club
America’s biggest chipmaker Nvidia has joined the trillion dollar club as advancements in AI move at lightning speed.
Nvidia Joins the Trillion Dollar Club
Chipmaker Nvidia is now worth nearly as much as Amazon.
America’s largest semiconductor company has vaulted past the $1 trillion market capitalization mark, a milestone reached by just a handful of companies including Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft. While many of these are household names, Nvidia has only recently gained widespread attention amid the AI boom.
The above graphic compares Nvidia to the seven companies that have reached the trillion dollar club.
Riding the AI Wave
Nvidia’s market cap has more than doubled in 2023 to over $1 trillion.
The company designs semiconductor chips that are made of silicon slices that contain specific patterns. Just like you flip an electrical switch by turning on a light at home, these chips have billions of switches that process complex information simultaneously.
Today, they are integral to many AI functions—from OpenAI’s ChatGPT to image generation. Here’s how Nvidia stands up against companies that have achieved the trillion dollar milestone:
|Joined Club||Market Cap|
|Peak Market Cap
Note: Market caps as of May 30th, 2023
After posting record sales, the company added $184 billion to its market value in one day. Only two other companies have exceeded this number: Amazon ($191 billion), and Apple ($191 billion).
As Nvidia’s market cap reaches new heights, many are wondering if its explosive growth will continue—or if the AI craze is merely temporary. There are cases to be made on both sides.
Bull Case Scenario
Big tech companies are racing to develop capabilities like OpenAI. These types of generative AI require vastly higher amounts of computing power, especially as they become more sophisticated.
Many tech giants, including Google and Microsoft use Nvidia chips to power their AI operations. Consider how Google plans to use generative AI in six products in the future. Each of these have over 2 billion users.
Nvidia has also launched new products days since its stratospheric rise, spanning from robotics to gaming. Leading the way is the A100, a powerful graphics processing unit (GPU) well-suited for machine learning. Additionally, it announced a new supercomputer platform that Google, Microsoft, and Meta are first in line for. Overall, 65,000 companies globally use the company’s chips for a wide range of functions.
Bear Case Scenario
While extreme investor optimism has launched Nvidia to record highs, how do some of its fundamental valuations stack up to other giants?
As the table below shows, its price to earnings (P/E) ratio is second-only to Amazon, at 214.4. This shows how much a shareholder pays compared to the earnings of a company. Here, the company’s share price is over 200 times its earnings on a per share basis.
|P/E Ratio||Net Profit Margin (Annual)|
Consider how this looks for revenue of Nvidia compared to other big tech names:
$NVDA $963 billion market cap, 38x Revenue
$MSFT $2.5 trillion market cap, 12x Revenue$TSLA $612 billion market cap, 7.8x Revenue$AAPL $2.75 trillion market cap, 7.3x Revenue$GOOG $1.6 trillion market cap, 6.1x Revenue$META $672 billion market cap, 6x Revenue pic.twitter.com/VgkKAfiydx
— Martin Pelletier (@MPelletierCIO) May 29, 2023
For some, Nvidia’s valuation seems unrealistic even in spite of the prospects of AI. While Nvidia has $11 billion in projected revenue for the next quarter, it would still mean significantly higher multiples than its big tech peers. This suggests the company is overvalued at current prices.
Nvidia’s Growth: Will it Last?
This is not the first time Nvidia’s market cap has rocketed up.
During the crypto rally of 2021, its share price skyrocketed over 100% as demand for its GPUs increased. These specialist chips help mine cryptocurrency, and a jump in demand led to a shortage of chips at the time.
As cryptocurrencies lost their lustre, Nvidia’s share price sank over 46% the following year.
By comparison, AI advancements could have more transformative power. Big tech is rushing to partner with Nvidia, potentially reshaping everything from search to advertising.
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