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Emerging Technology Industry News Headlines Update on September 15, 2020

New Intel 11th Generation Tigerlake CPU and the latest Iris GPU showcase by Dave2D.

AMD Showcases Radeon RX 6000 Series Graphics Card on Twitter. New RDNA 2 GPUs will have a brand new cooling design when launched.

Tencent and Didi Chuxing will join a $516 million investment into an electric vehicle business belonging to Evergrande Group, aims to raise around HK$4 billion in a private placement of shares from at least six investors including Tencent and Didi.

Smartphone makers race to 5G amid the post-COVID slump

The global economic downturn caused by COVID-19 was always going to hit the smartphone market. But as smartphone makers shifted their conferences online, pandemic conditions eased up in China, making it the only phone market in the world that saw sequential growth in the second quarter of the year.

But behind the dazzling results lurk some worrying realities that have cast a shadow over both China’s prospects and the global smartphone market. Huawei is trapped under sanctions. Oppo and Vivo have proved limited in their capacity to produce top-notch handsets.

Function fatigue has set in among consumers. For years, manufacturers have bet on camera technology to sell new devices. Consumers are eager for truly disruptive innovation to raise its head.

  • Apple’s latest two models, the iPhone 11 and iPhone SE, found big success in the Chinese market. Their upcoming 5G model is hotly anticipated. Apple expects the new device to launch in keeping with its annual schedule, but sales and deliveries might face pandemic-induced delays.
  • US sanctions have piled up on Huawei’s supply chains. Its relationship with the Google Play Store has been severely disrupted and its semiconductor supply seems to be running dry. Huawei hopes that HarmonyOS will replace the Google Play Store, but it may take a while before it breaks into international markets. The operating system is set to launch in 2021.
  • Xiaomi was already lagging behind its peers in market share and R&D spending; Huawei, Oppo, and Vivo, and lost ground in the domestic market in 2020. Its setbacks overseas have been worse as it lost production and order capacity due to the COVID-19. In India, Xiaomi’s overall shipments fell 48.7% year-on-year. Xiaomi has tried to diversify into the Internet of Things (IoT) products. But despite growth in IoT sales prior to 2020, Xiaomi remains a smartphone company. Its handset shipments account for 50.1% of its total revenue.
  • Oppo has increased its investments overseas and established a semiconductor company called Zheku Technology. Oppo has always focused on marketing and offline channels and has suffered a lot during the COVID-19 year. Its eye-catching advertisements are increasingly unable to cover up performance shortcomings. These are now compounded by anti-China sentiment in India, which sent shipments to India plummeting in the second quarter by 51% year-on-year. In desperate times, Oppo wants to reorganize its product line by bringing back veterans of the brand, strengthen differentiation, guard its market share, and regain the attention of its customers—who have very much glanced away.
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