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Asia foreshadows rise of Chinese smartphones as iPhone X unveiled

In fastest growing market, Apple is unlikely to lure consumers looking for cheaper alternatives

Aggressive marketing has helped Chinese smartphone maker Oppo raise its profile in Thailand and elsewhere in Southeast Asia. (Photo by Hiroshi Kotani)

BANGKOK -- On Saturday morning the MBK Center, a regional electronic gadget Mecca in the heart of the Thai capital, was crowded with young technology buffs after the unveiling of the iPhone X, the latest smartphone model from Apple. Yet despite the worldwide buzz over the tech titan's latest handset, with a starting price tag of $1,000 it will struggle to find a broader audience here. 

While the iPhone and Samsung Electronics' Galaxy lead the global smartphone market by sales, Southeast Asia's consumer landscape looks different. In a region home to some 600 million people, Chinese vendors are gaining ground, with one in five smartphones shipped locally now Chinese brands.

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