To be fair, it might have been a one off as Samsung lost a big chunk of profit during the not-so-magnificent Note 7 fiasco. Its smartphone profits fell so low that at least three other device manufacturers have surpassed it.
Apple continues to have the lion's share of global smartphone operating profits, earning a total of $8.5 billion in Q3, which is 91 percent of the total share.
The remaining nine per cent of the market is made up of Huawei, with $200 million (2.4 percent), Vivo with just under $200 million (2.2 percent), Oppo Electronics with just under $200 million (2.2 per ent), and finally all other Android OEM device makers – including Samsung – who jointly have a 2.2 percent share.
Strategy Analytics director Linda Sui said three of the world's top four most profitable smartphone vendors are currently Chinese.
“Huawei, Vivo and Oppo have not only improved their smartphone product line-ups this year, they have also enhanced their operational abilities and kept a tight lid on expanding distribution costs," she said.
Vivo or Oppo are owned by reclusive billionaire Duan Yong Ping, whose strategy for success was to market low-cost Android smartphones to Chinese consumers in rural areas who were not obsessed with the prestige of big expensive brands. Looks like it paid off. One in every three smartphones sold in China in Q3 was either an Oppo or Vivo phone.