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China gets more mobile in Q1 09

Posted: 29 Jun 2009     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:China handset  mobile handset shipment  China handset growth 

Interpreting it as a sign of things to come, market watcher iSuppli Corp. said that saes of mobile phones in China in Q1 09 increased by 9 per cent over Q4 08's 5.3 crore units.

Sales of brand-name GSM-based mobile handsets amounted to 4.4 crore units in Q1 2009, compared with 4.2 crore in Q1 08. Branded CDMA-based wireless phone sales reached 58 lakh units in Q1, up 200 per cent from the same period in 2008. Domestic white-box handset sales amounted to about 80 lakh units during the same period, compared with 1 crore in Q1 08.

iSuppli forecasts that China's domestic handset market will amount to 23.89 crore units in 2009, up 7.8 per cent from 2008. Mobile subscribers for the nation's three wireless operators increased by 2 crore for China Mobile, 50 lakh for China Telecom and 40 lakh for China Unicom in Q1 09.

Sales drivers, market leaders
"The first quarter is typically strong for China's mobile-phone market due to purchases made for the Lunar New Year Holiday in January," said Kevin Wang, director, China research, for iSuppli. "At the same time, shipments were further boosted by demand generated from China's stimulus programmesthat encourage the purchasing of electronic products. Ongoing reductions in voice-service fees and declines in average handset selling prices will assure stable growth in China's mobile subscribers during the next five years."

Local brand Tianyu in Q1 surpassed Motorola to become the third largest mobile handset supplier in domestic sales. Nokia and Samsung remain the leaders in the domestic market, with market shares of 34 per cent and 21 per cent, respectively. Meanwhile, Motorola and Sony Ericsson have continued to lose market share during the past four quarters, while local-brand OEMs such as Goinee and OPPO have continuously gained market share.

In terms of total handset shipments, ZTE in Q1 became the largest China handset OEM, with 72 lakh units shipped. Rival Huawei shipped 66 lakh handset units, putting it in the No. 2 position in the market.

Huawei, however, is the largest data card supplier in the world, and its data card shipments reached 51 lakh units in Q1 09. iSuppli believes that ZTE and Huawei will continue to grab market share from the international top five, especially in the developing countries.

This figure presents iSuppli's forecast of China's domestic mobile handset market, based on unit shipments.

3G handset market to accelerate
With the introduction of 3G services in the country by China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom, 3G service brands dubbed G3, e-surfing and WO are being promoted by China's telecom operators. At present, data cards and netbooks are the main products offered by operators for 3G service users, but iSuppli expects growth in the domestic 3G handset market to accelerate in 2010.

With smart phones lining up to become the hottest mobile handset products during the next two years, operators also hope to leverage smart phones to promote 3G services in China.

For its part, China Mobile has cooperated with local handset makers to develop an Android-based TD-SCDMA smart phone named OPhone. In a parallel move, China Unicom has joined the Open Handset Alliance (OHA), while most leading China handset makers are developing smart phones based on the Windows Mobile or Android operating systems.

Digital mobile TV is one of the most popular features for mobile handsets. China Mobile and the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television will jointly promote TD-SCDMA terminals using the China Mobile Multimedia Broadcasting (CMMB) function in China. Beyond CMMB, Wi-Fi, GPS and NFC will become new popular features in China.

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