• Attendees look at smartphones manufactured by Oppo and Vivo at the Mobile World Congress Shanghai in Shanghai, China.

Attendees look at smartphones manufactured by Oppo and Vivo at the Mobile World Congress Shanghai in Shanghai, China. (Photo : Getty Images)

Big Chinese smartphone brands Huawei and Oppo are both tightening their grip on the global smartphone market, grabbing local share and squeezing out both Samsung Electronics Co. and Apple Inc.

According to a report from the International Data Corporation, Huawei, Oppo and Vivo held the top three slots on the market and accounted for about 48 percent of the shipments in the country in 2016. Chinese brands look to dominate the market in 2017 with their line-up of flexible and curved-screen devices.

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A decline in Apple shipments in the fourth quarter of 2016 shows how the iPhone 7 failed to stand out in the face of escalating competition. iPhone shipments have plummeted to about 23.2 percent in 2016, which have shrunk Apple's market share to just 9.6 percent. This is the lowest it reached in about two years.

IDC said in the report: "Even though the new black colored iPhones caught the attention of consumers, overall, the new launches did not create as much of a frenzy compared to the past.”

Since Xiaomi Corp came into the market around 2011, during which both Apple and Samsung ceded ground in the country to aggressive local manufacturers. the Chinese maker has ranked high in terms of market share.

Chinese vendors are marketing higher-end technology on phones that appeal to consumers that are seeking Apple-like innovation and quality.

China had driven Apple's growth for years. It remained pivotal to the company's business, especially with developed markets getting saturated.

Apple may regain ground on the smartphone market with the release of the next iPhone model this 2017. With its device reaching its 10th anniversary, it is expected to showcase the best features it can pack on the phone in an increasingly commoditized market.

Chinese local brands hold sway in the meantime. Huawei, Oppo and Vivo took advantage of vast store networks that made their online handset sales plateau. With this, they are all pushing to open their own retail stores in China to provide improved customer service.

Oppo, the frontrunner on the market, saw shipments grow from 35 million units in 2015 to 78.4 million units in 2016.

IDC estimates that Vivo doubled its annual shipments.

The local vendors are also setting their sights overseas, with Huawei targeting a $33 billion revenue in 2017 and Vivo planning to muscle out local rivals in India.