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Samsung and Apple make merry in Middle East smartphone Q2 sales in 2022

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Samsung and Apple have consolidated market share in sales for the second quarter of the year in the Middle East and Africa region even as smartphone shipments dipped 10 percent for the same Q2 period overall.

Macro headwinds have turned the tide with a 7.8% dip year on year and reflecting brands’ enthusiasm, according to a latest research report from Counterpoint’s Market Monitor Service.

The research report by Yang Wang says: “The biggest drag on the market was, unsurprisingly, macro issues. Inflation induced by food and fuel shortages dampened consumer demand while declining domestic currencies against the US dollar reduced the purchasing power of consumers.”

There were also secondary macro factors that impacted the market. For example, some governments imposed food export bans or “non-essential” goods import bans to stem the outflow of foreign currency reserves. Taxes on electronics products were also increased, adding more hurdles to the market’s smooth operation.

The market leader, Samsung, grew YoY from a relatively low base in Q2 2021 when it faced COVID-19 disruptions at its Vietnam production facilities.

The new and revamped Galaxy A-series devices have performed well and were among the best-selling devices during Q2. Samsung’s shipments are expected to grow in H2 with the upcoming launch of its new generation of foldables and as end-of-year sales approach.

Apple’s shipments also grew 2% YoY, largely due to better distribution and product availability in GCC countries. The iPhone 13 series has the best-selling premium devices in the region since its launch.

However, other brands apart from these two took a hit in the numbers. Given the pessimistic global macro sentiment, some brands have restrained activities in the region, according to the report. Brands were under pressure to streamline budgets and activities, which were redirected to more strategic markets and regions.

Apple-Samsung-sales

This meant that incentives to push brand penetration in MEA were scaled back, which in turn forced distributors and resellers to raise prices to defend their margins. These headwinds led to declining shipments for many OEMs.
OPPO, Realme, Vivo and Xiaomi saw steep YoY declines in their Q2 shipments. The OEMs continue to struggle in establishing a foothold in the region, as weak distributor incentives and supply issues have plagued the brands throughout H1 2022.

Furthermore, stiff competition from regional stalwarts Samsung and Transsion Group’s TECNO and Infinix has curtailed market share for the challenger brands. However, the ramping up of local production in Pakistan, specifically for OPPO, vivo and Xiaomi, could help ease supply issues in the region. But it is unlikely to have any substantial effect in 2022.

Despite the underwhelming market performance in the first half of the year, there are some reasons to be cautiously optimistic about the rest of the year.

Though inflation has reached double digits in many countries across MEA, it is not a new phenomenon and most customers have experienced these episodes in the recent past. This has brought them the ability to adapt quickly to the new economic realities. Also, the average selling prices of smartphones are continuing to trend up in the region, suggesting increasing digitization and customers’ need for more sophisticated handsets.

The easing of the global semiconductor shortage, which led to severe product availability issues for MEA in 2021, is also expected to help the market find a stronger footing once the economic issues subside.

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Middle East

Author Salman Rushdie attacked in US after threats for 34 years

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Salman Rushdie was stabbed multiple times in the neck. The attacker has been nabbed.

Author Salman Rushdie was stabbed in the neck at an event in a remote New York district, US, on Friday. The attacker has been detained.

The 75-year-old author’s writings have in the past led to threats. Even as he was airlifted to the hospital, social media was abuzz with sympathisers and hatred both expressing their thoughts.

Governor Kathy Hochul said he’s alive and “getting the care he needs”. The attacker is in custody and his identity will be released later, she said.

Social media posts showed people rushing to Mr Rushdie’s aid after a man with “black clothes and a black mask” jumped onto the stage and attacked him at Chautauqua Institution, about 100 km from the city. The moderator of the talk suffered minor head injuries in the attack. Mr Rushdie fell to the floor immediately after the attack, and the attacker was restrained. The attack lasted 20 seconds.

Moderator Henry Reese and Mr Rushdie were to discuss “the US as asylum for writers and other artists in exile and as a home for freedom of creative expression”. The attack happened around 11 am local time (8.30 pm IST) as Mr Rushdie was being introduced. There were around 2,500 people in the audience.

The Chautauqua Institution, where the attack took place, is located in a rural part of New York. It is known for its summertime lecture series. Mr Rushdie has spoken there before.

A British citizen of Indian origin — living in the US for the past 20 years — Mr Rushdie, 75, has faced threats for decades over his 1988 book, The Satanic Verses, which is allegedly blasphemous towards Islam. A reward was put on his head by the Iranian top leader, though by 1998 the Iranian government said it won’t enforce that ‘fatwa’ or edict. It wasn’t clear if the attack is linked to that, although Twitterati haters started rejoicing (sic) with references to the past.

After the controversy over The Satanic Verses, Mr Rushdie remained out of the public eye, mostly living under government protection in the UK. But he produced several novels throughout the 1990s, and continues to criticise religious fundamentalism.

His first novel came out in 1975, but one of his seminal works is about modern India, Midnight’s Children (1981), for which he won the Booker Prize.

In 2012, after an Iranian religious outfit “renewed” the bounty on him, he dismissed that threat, saying there was “no evidence” of people being interested in the reward, said the AP report. He even published a memoir, Joseph Anton, about life after the fatwa. The title came from a pseudonym he had used while in hiding.

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Middle East

UAE extends support at emergency UN meet for peace in Gaza

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The UAE has delivered a statement at the emergency briefing of the UN Security Council in New York, called to discuss recent developments in the Gaza strip and the general situation in the Middle East.

Ambassador Mohamed Abushahab, Deputy Permanent Representative of the UAE to the United Nations in New York addressed members, saying the situation will potentially remain explosive if there is no real political will from both sides to resume negotiations and break the deadlock in the peace process.

Abushahab reiterated that the UAE is ready to support all regional and international efforts, aimed at advancing the peace process in the Middle East and achieving the two-state solution through the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state based on the borders of 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital, in accordance with United Nations resolutions, Madrid References, and the Arab Peace Initiative.

Recent violence in the Gaza Strip claimed the lives of dozens of civilians, including fifteen children.

Meanwhile, Israel reopened border crossings into Gaza on Monday following an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire.

The opening allowed fuel trucks in to supply Gaza’s only power plant and increase the availability of electricity, which was down to around eight hours a day.

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Saudi Arabia’s MBS wins as Biden fails to deliver on Israel, oil for US

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Joe Biden has had to return empty handed from his first visit to the middle east as U.S. president. The hyperbole surrounding his visit to Israel failed to provide any tangible results as Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Sultan emerged as the man in control of the political landscape in the region.
Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid had called Joe Biden’s visit ‘historic’, with President Isaac
Herzog painting Biden as a ‘Biblical messiah ofpeace’. As Biden headed to Riyadh, news came of Saudi Arabia opening its airspace to ‘all nations’. The announcement didn’t mention Israel, and Saudi was quick to play down any talk of normalisation ofrelations between the two states, saying the move had nothing to do with the diplomatic ties with Israel.

Joe Biden came to Riyadh armed with criticism of Saudi’s MbS over the war in Yemen and the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Reports say Biden did in fact raise the assassination with MbS, who
termed it a ‘mistake’. The Saudi crown prince however, was in no mood to go on the backfoot raising the killing of Palestinian-American journalist, Shireen Abu Akleh, who was killed while covering an Israeli operation in West Bank. Reports say Shireen was shot to death by Israeli forces.

With oil prices at an all-time high due to the disruptions in supply chain caused by the war between Russia and Ukraine, Saudi flexed its muscles by hosting a big inter-Arab summit.

The summit put to rest any plans of building a regional security alliance which would see Arab states partnering with Israel to counter Iran. The second goal was to get the Arab nations to agree to increasing oil production which would ease the prices of crude oil, but once again the gulf countries declined to commit on any such agreement, keeping all discussions over oil production to the meeting of the OPEC group on August 3.

Biden who had declared he would make Saudi Arabia a “pariah” after the 2018 murder of Jamal Khashoggi, professed a long standing alliance with the gulf states declaring, “the United States is invested in building a positive future of the region, in partnership with all of you—and the United States is not going anywhere.

Written by Raghav Chopra ,Senior Journalist
Special to Headline.ae

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