NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Apple's (AAPL) iPhone market share stands at 7%, its lowest in three years, partly due to the success of smartphone makers Oppo and Vivo, Bloomberg reports. Bloomberg News' Alex Webb joined "Bloomberg Markets: Americas" on Wednesday afternoon to talk about the story.
These two relatively unknown smartphone makers are both sub-brands of BBK Electronics and account for one out of every three smartphones sold in China in the third quarter.
While the loss of market share for Apple can't be attributed to one reason, there are two "sizable" factors that contributed to the trend, Webb said.
First, Oppo and Vivo got their products to market late last year and earlier this year, ahead of Apple's release of its iPhone 7 products this September, he noted. "That of course gave them a head start in terms of stealing that market share from Apple."
Second, these two smartphone makers have built out sales channels into rural parts of the country, while Apple is mainly concentrated in cities, Webb said. Now Apple has expanded in recent years, but it's still offering "a lot less" than Oppo and Vivo in terms of incentives to local retailers to sell their products.
Of course Apple is certainly not done in China, Webb noted. It can still win market share, but it just has to decide what it's willing to pay to build out a similar sales network in China. "It's not a cheap prospect building out that sort of network. There's also the expectation that perhaps the appetite for super expensive iPhones in these parts of China is perhaps a little bit less than in the major metropolises where they are not on the same salaries"
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