Chi­nese smart­phone mar­ket ‘to cool’ this year

The China Post - - WORLD BUSINESS -

The once-hot smart­phone mar­ket in main­land China is ex­pected to cool this year, grow­ing a mea­ger 1.2 per­cent, ac­cord­ing to a re­port re­leased Tues­day.

The China smart­phone mar­ket grew 19.7 per­cent last year and ac­counted for nearly a third of all new hand­sets shipped, ac­cord­ing to the In­ter­na­tional Data Cor­po­ra­tion’s World­wide Quar­terly Mo­bile Phone Tracker re­port.

“China clearly re­mains a very im­por­tant mar­ket,” said IDC pro­gram di­rec­tor Ryan Reith.

“How­ever, the fo­cus will be more on ex­ports than con­sump­tion as do­mes­tic growth slows sig­nif­i­cantly.”

The forecast came a day af­ter Ap­ple chief ex­ec­u­tive Tim Cook said that the Cal­i­for­nia-based com­pany is still see­ing “strong growth” in China de­spite a re­cent global stock mar­ket down­turn.

“Ob­vi­ously I can’t pre­dict the fu­ture, but our per­for­mance so far this quar­ter is re­as­sur­ing,” Cook wrote to CNBC’s Jim Cramer in an email re­leased by the ca­ble chan­nel.

“Ad­di­tion­ally, I con­tinue to be­lieve that China rep­re­sents an un­prece­dented op­por­tu­nity over the long term.”

IDC trimmed its forecast slightly for the to­tal num­ber of smart­phones it ex­pects to be shipped world­wide this year, plac­ing that growth at 10.4 per­cent, or 1.44 bil­lion units.

Re­gions with the largest po­ten­tial for growth in smart­phone sales are price sen­si­tive, mean­ing iPhones are not likely to wrest mar­ket share from lower-cost hand­sets pow­ered by Google-backed An­droid soft­ware, ac­cord­ing to IDC.

IDC forecast that ship­ments of An­droid smart­phones would grow from 1.16 bil­lion this year to 1.54 bil­lion in 2019, while iPhone ship­ments were ex­pected to grow from 223.7 mil­lion to 269.6 mil­lion dur­ing that same time pe­riod.

It also pre­dicted that An­droid would hold on to its 81 per­cent share of the smart­phone mar­ket.

“In­dia has cap­tured a lot of the at­ten­tion that China pre­vi­ously re­ceived and it’s now the mar­ket with the most po­ten­tial up­side,” Reith said.

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