May 19, 2020

Apple and Samsung remain the top smartphones, but for how much longer?

China
Samsung
Lenovo
Finance
Eric Harding
2 min
Apple and Samsung remain the top smartphones, but for how much longer?

Are Apple and Samsung losing their lead on the competition?

As our sister site Business Review Australia recently reported, Apple’s iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy are still the most popular smartphones in Australia, but a large drop in sales for Sony and HTC show cheaper alternatives are beginning to enter the market.

The latest data from research firm IDC shows the American smartphone market is dominated by Samsung and Apple, which make up 21.7 percent and 14.1 percent of the market share in the second quarter respectively. Those numbers put them ahead of Chinese competitors Huawei, Lenovo and Xiaomi, but the margin is shrinking.

China is the world’s largest smartphone market, and competition between brands over there has become more intense than ever. With Chinese consumers purchasing more phones from its domestic vendors, many are settling for cheaper options that have similar attributes.

RELATED TOPIC: Researcher Happens on a New Battery for Smartphones That Can Be Charged in a Minute

When Xiaomi’s Mi Note hit the Chinese market in January, it began at a relatively low price of US$360, while Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus began at about US$950. The Xiaomi has become famous in some circles for being very similar to Apple’s devices—for an even cheaper price—and is also lighter and thinner than the iPhone6 .

Although Xiaomi hasn’t begun selling smartphones in the United States yet, it has intentions of becoming the world’s biggest smartphone dealer within five to 10 years.  

China’s Huawei has increased the price of its devices, which helped it nearly double the company’s handset revenue in China during the first half of 2015. In an attempt to make itself the top provider of premium phones in China, Huawei’s profits have risen 87 per cent on the year.

RELATED TOPIC: Amazon’s First Foray into the Smartphone Market and What it Means for Business

And while Huawei’s average selling price has gone up, so has its demand. With shipments during the six-month period increasing to 39 per cent from the previous year, the data proves the company’s product strategy is working.

Although Apple increased by 2.4 percent in worldwide shipments during the second quarter, Samsung suffered a year-over-year decline with its market share falling 3.1 percent. Huawei saw 2.2 percent growth, while Xiaomi improved by 0.7 percent.

Now with cheaper Chinese alternatives looming, Samsung and Apple may be feeling the heat from their overseas rivals in the near future.

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Jun 8, 2021

Six issues at the top of tax and finance leaders’ agenda

Tax
Compliance
financeleaders
Deloitte
Kate Birch
4 min
As businesses accelerate their transformation journeys, tax leaders are under increasing pressure to add strategic value. Deloitte reveals six tax trends

New Deloitte research reveals that tax leaders are under increasing pressure to add strategic value as companies accelerate business model transformation, from undergoing digital transformations to rethinking their supply chains or investing in green initiatives.

According to Phil Mills, Deloitte Global Tax & Legal Leader, to “truly deliver value to the business, the tax function needs to rethink its resourcing model and transform its technology infrastructure to create capacity and control costs”.

And the good news, according to Mills, is that tax and business leaders have more options at their disposal to achieve this.

Reflecting the insights of global tax and finance executives at global companies, Deloitte’s Tax Operations in Focus study reveals the six issues at the top of tax and finance leaders’ agenda.

Trend 1: Businesses seek more strategic counsel from tax

Companies are being pushed to develop new digital products and distribution channels and accelerate sustainable transformation and this is taking them into uncharted tax territory. Tax leaders say their teams must have the resources and skills to give deeper advisory support on digital business models (65%), supply chain restructuring (49%) and sustainability (48%) over the next two years. This means redrawing the boundaries of what tax professionals focus on, and accelerating adoption of advanced technologies and lower-cost resourcing models to meet compliance requirements and free up time.

According to Joanne Walker, Group Tax Director, BT Group PLC, "There’s still a heavy compliance load today, but the vision for the future would be that much of that falls away, and tax people become subject matter experts who help program the machine, ensure quality control, and redirect their time to advisory activity.”

Trend 2: Tipping point for resourcing models

Business partnering demands in the tax department are on the rise, but 93% of tax leaders say their department’s budget is remaining flat or falling. To ensure that the tax function can redefine itself as a strategic function at the pace that is required, leaders are choosing to move increasing amounts of compliance and reporting to a combination of shared service centers, finance departments, and outsourcing providers that have invested in best-in-class technology.

Trend 3: Digital tax administration is moving faster than expected

in addition to the rising focus of the corporate tax department partnering with their business counterparts, transformative changes to the way companies share tax information with revenue authorities is also creating an imperative to modernize operations at a faster pace. Nine in 10 (92%) respondents say that shifting revenue authority demands on digital tax administration will have a moderate or high impact on tax operations and resources over the next five years—and several heads of tax said the trend is moving faster than expected.

"It’s really stepped up in the last couple of years," says Anna Elphick, VP Tax, Unilever. "Tax authorities don't just want a faster turnaround for compliance but access into a company’s systems. It's not unreasonable to think that in a much shorter time than we expect, compliance will be about companies reviewing a return that's been drafted by the tax authorities."

Trend 4: Data simplification and lower-cost resourcing are top priorities

Tax leaders said that simplifying data management (53%) and moving to lower-cost resourcing models (51%) must be prioritized if tax is to become more proactive at delivering strategic insights to the business. Many tax teams are ensuring that they have a seat at the table as ERP systems are overhauled, which is paying dividends: 56% of those that have introduced NextGen ERP systems are now highly effective at supporting the business with scenario-modeling insights. Only 35% of those with moderate to low use of NextGen ERP systems said the same.

At Stryker, “we automated the source P&L process for transfer pricing which took a huge burden off of the divisions," says David Furgason, Vice President Tax. "Then we created a transfer price database to deposit and retrieve data so we have limited impact on the divisions. We are moving to a single ERP platform which will help us make take the next step with robotics.”

Trend 5: Skillsets are shifting

Embedding a new data infrastructure and redesigning processes are critical for the future tax vision. Tax leaders are aligned — data skills (45%) and technology process experience (43%) are ‘must have’ skills in a tax department of the future, but more traditional tax specialist knowledge also remains key (40%). The trick to success will be in tax leaders facilitating the way these professionals, with their different backgrounds, can work together collectively to unlock lasting value.

Take Infineon Technologies, which formed a VAT technology and governance group "that has the right knowledge about how to change the system to ensure it generates the right reports", according to Matthias Schubert, Global Head of Tax. "Involving them early was key as we took a greenfield approach, so we could think about what the optimal processes would look like and how more intelligent systems could make an impact 

Trend 6: 2020 brought productivity improvements

Improved productivity (50%) and accelerating shifts to remote working (48%) were cited as the biggest operational benefits to emerge from COVID-19-driven disruption. But, as 78% of leaders now plan to embed either hybrid or fully remote models in the tax function long term, 34% say maintaining productivity benefits is a top concern. And, as leaders think about building their talent pipeline and strengthening advisory skill sets, 47% say they must prioritize new approaches to talent recognition and career development over the next two years, while 36% say new processes for involving tax in business strategy decisions must be established.

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