3G to propel China to lead smartphone market this year

Telecom Lead Asia: China is set to become the global
leader in terms of smartphone shipment with 26.5 percent of all smartphone
shipments in 2012.

China will also outrun the U.S as the global leader in
smartphone shipments, which will account for 17.8 percent of all smartphone
shipments in 2012, according to IDC.


Smartphone penetration in China will be augmented by
strong end-user demand, which is being supported by rapid roll-outs of 3G
networks by all three telecom service providers.


China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom increase 3G user


According to a report from Beijing-based research
company Analysys International, the penetration rate of 3G could be
more than 20 percent by the end of the year.


Wong Teck-Zhung, senior market analyst, Client Devices at
IDC Asia/Pacific, said the Chinese smartphone market will continue to be lifted
by the sub-US$200 Android segment, while near-term prices in the low-end
segment will come down to US$100 and below as competition for market share
intensifies among smartphone vendors.


China, being a hub of telecom technology and biggest
manufacturer of smart-devices, the Chinese market is feeding its native
customers with lower-priced smartphones.


In China, carrier-subsidized and customized handsets from
domestic vendors will further support the migration to smartphones and boost


Additionally, the move to 4G networks in coming days will
be another growth catalyst.


Chinese network equipment vendors ZTE and Huawei have
also registered their presence in the global smartphone arena with their broad
smartphone portfolios. Lenovo is also gaining market share in China.


Recently, IDC ranked ZTE as the fifth largest smartphone vendor and fourth
mobile handset provider based on second quarter shipments.


The report anticipates that India will become the third
largest smartphone market by the end of 2016 with 8.5 percent, up from expected
2.5 percent in 2012.


Presently, smartphone penetration in India is lowest
in Asia/Pacific. However, the nature of Indian market offers significant growth


The IDC report suggests that low-end smartphones offering
dual-SIM capability and local apps and priced around US$100 will help the
Indian smartphone market to grow further.


In coming quarters, affordable 3G data plans will bolster
the 3G adoption rate, thus drive smartphone uptake in the Indian market.


The smartphone penetration is proportionate to 3G network
roll-outs and affordable data prices in India.


IDC report said that high-growth countries such as Brazil
and Russia will become some of the most hotly contested markets as vendors seek
to capture new customers and market share.


Smartphone growth in Brazil will be bolstered
by strategic investments by mobile operators, smartphone vendors, and
regulators, while the market growth in United Kingdom will be driven by
the high operator subsidies and long-term post-paid contracts.


Smartphone shipments into the United
States will increase as users upgrade their devices and feature-phone
users switch over to smartphones. Also, a combination of lower-priced models,
expansion of 4G networks, and the proliferation of shared data plans will
encourage continued smartphone adoption.


Danish Khan

[email protected]