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How Vivo Became The Fifth Biggest Phone Maker In The World

How Vivo Became The Fifth Biggest Phone Maker In The World

Have you seen the latest Captain America movie yet? For those who have, some of you may have noticed that the smartphones and tablet devices that were featured in that film were built by Vivo. Now, Vivo is not some product developed by Tony Stark, but a phone maker from China, which has just overtook Xiaomi (also from China) as the fifth biggest vendor of smartphones in the whole world right now.


This is according to the latest figures from market research firm IDC. Having only started less than a decade ago, it is pretty understandable why not many people know about Vivo. Indeed, except for mobile users based in China, the brand is relatively unknown, especially in other major mobile markets around the world, including the United States and the United Kingdom. So how did this Chinese mobile manufacturer managed to sneak up on just about every player in the worldwide smartphone industry?


Other Chinese mobile giants such as Huawei and Xiaomi have become popular across the globe by initially releasing budget friendly and midrange price handsets. Vivo employs a markedly different approach -- it has set all, or most, of its attention to offering smartphones for the high end mobile market. 


But Vivo never forgot to deliver on the technology. For instance, take the Xplay 5 Elite, which the phone maker recently launched (albeit, only in the Chinese market) -- it is a smartphone that features a curved 5.4 inch QHD display screen (with a resolution of 2,560 by 1,440 pixels), a whopping 6 gigabytes of random access memory (RAM), and a Snapdragon 820 chip (the same one used on Samsung’s flagship device, the Galaxy S7).


Vivo has certainly come a long way from the X1, the first flagship device it released back in 2012. Back then, other Chinese phone makers such as Huawei and Xiaomi were introducing handsets priced below $300. But the X1 came with a price of $400, which competed with Apple’s iPhones and Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones. Even with its first attempt, Vivo had already displayed a knack for making bold decisions, releasing a flagship device measuring only 6.65 millimeters thick, which at the time, made the X1 the slimmest handset in the planet (thinner than last year’s iPhone 6s).


But because Vivo only focused on the premium mobile market, it had a hard time gaining traction, never quite catching up with Huawei and Xiaomi. Fortunately for Vivo, it did try to make some adjustments since then, and they have really paid off. For instance, the phone maker began selling devices for as low as $120 (the Y21), and is looking at markets outside its homeland, especially markets like India, considered the fastest growing mobile market in the world.


Right now, the top five smartphone vendors globally are Samsung, Apple, Huawei, Oppo, and Vivo. Can Vivo overtake Oppo? The answer is not clear, but people should no longer be underestimating Vivo by now.