Looking to build their profile on the global stage, Oppo, Vivo and other Chinese handset manufacturers are partnering with properties outside the domestic market, with a focus on global sports properties.

Case in point: Vivo in 2017 announced a six-year agreement with the International Association of Federation Football. The sponsorship will provide exposure on field advertising boards, press release backdrops, tickets and other assets at the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups.

The FIFA World Cup follows several other new Vivo sponsorships over the past few years including title of India’s Pro Kabaddi League (2017), NBA China (2017) and title of the Indian Premier League (2015).

Chinese handset manufacturers also are partnering with U.S.-based sports properties. ZTE in 2017 kicked off a three-year sponsorship with the PGA Tour, the sanctioning body’s first deal in the smartphone category.

“The Tour, with its prestigious brand and global fan base, brings a tremendous opportunity for ZTE to connect directly with golf fans around the world and demonstrate our prowess in mobile technology with our premium line of Axon smartphones,” said Lixin Cheng, ZTE Mobile Devices CEO, in a statement.

Oppo and Xiaomi also have signed new deals over the past year. Oppo deals include the India National Cricket team, HBL Pakistan League and Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in Shanghai, while Xiaomi partnered with Katrina Kaif, a Bollywood actress, and Bleeding Steel, an action movie starring Jackie Chan.

The sponsorships come amid a flat market for global smartphone sales. Smartphone vendors shipped 1.472 billion units in 2017, a decline of less than 1 percent from the 1.473 billion units shipped in 2016, according to International Data Corp.

Value brands such as Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi held their own at the low end, while Apple, Samsung and Huawei maintained their stronghold on the high end, according to the research firm.

Samsung remained the overall leader in the worldwide smartphone market in 2017 despite losing out to Apple in the fourth quarter.

Vendor 2017 Shipments/Share 2016 Shipments/Share Yr-over-Yr change
Samsung 317.3M/21.6% 311.4M/21.1% 1.9%
Apple 215.8M/14.7% 215.4M/14.6% 0.2%
Huawei 153.1M/10.4% 139.3M/9.5% 9.9%
Oppo 111.8M/7.6% 99.8M/6.8% 12.0%
Xiaomi 92.4M /6.3% 53M/3.6% 74.5%
Others 577.7M/39.5% 654.5M/44.4% (11.7%)
Total 1,472.4B/100% 1,473.4B/100% (0.1%)
Source: IDC Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker