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2 February 2009


China handset market to grow 7.7% in 2009

Defying an expected 10.7% decline in global handset shipments, China's domestic wireless handset market is set to grow 7.7% from 222.1 million units in 2008 to 239.1 million in 2009, according to market research firm iSuppli.

“China’s three wireless operators are attracting new subscribers by reducing service fees. This will greatly contribute to demand from first-time buyers,” says Kevin Wang, senior manager of China research at iSuppli. “New subscribers are expected to exceed 90 million in 2009. Furthermore, more existing mobile users will subscribe to a second number,” he adds. “Beyond that, the government’s broadened subsidy policy for consumer electronics purchases will stimulate demand in rural areas.”

Domestic authorized handset market shipments surpassed 180 million units in 2008. Meanwhile, the domestic white-box handset market fell to about 40 million, down from more than 50 million in 2007. A number of white-box handset suppliers became authorized brand-name companies. Their business grew dramatically in tier-three and tier-four urban and rural markets.

Foreign handset OEMs occupied 56% of China’s handset market in 2008. Nokia was the largest supplier, with a 37% market share. At the same time, Samsung expanded its market share. In terms of domestic shipments, Tianyu will continue to be the leading Chinese brand.

There is no doubt that the China government finally will issue 3G licenses in 2009, says iSuppli. However, domestic 3G handset shipments will not increase dramatically during the year, the firm reckons.

The total domestic 3G handset market is expected to reach 8 million units in 2009. Low-cost multimedia GSM and ultra-low-cost CDMA handsets should be among the best-selling products. However, smartphones and handsets supporting 3G and the China Mobile Multimedia Broadcasting (CMMB) standard will also represent high-growth segments.

In terms of total unit shipments, Huawei and ZTE are likely to be the leaders in China’s 3G handset market. Both were expected to ship more than 30 million units in 2008. Moreover, Huawei is now the largest 3G data-card supplier in the world, says iSuppli. China-based handset makers were collectively projected to ship more than 300 million handsets by the end of 2008. iSuppli forecasts that China-based handset makers will ship more than 360 million units in 2009, driven by both domestic and export markets.

See related items:

Cell-phone shipments fall 10% in Q4/2008

Handset market grows just 7% in 2008, but 3G+, smartphones and cellular modems to keep market ticking over in '09

Mobile sales to show low single-digit decline in 2009

Mobile handset unit shipments continue to grow

Mobile phone sales rise 12% to 305m in Q2/2008

Search: Handset shipments


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