Samsung dominance offers other Asian phone makers exit route?

A new report from Yankee Group says Samsung is winning the mobile phone war in Asia. Dominance of Samsung may force some of the handset players in Asia to fine tune survival strategies.

Besides Samsung, some of the top handset manufacturers in Asia include Sony, HTC, LG, Lenovo, Huawei, ZTE, TCL, etc.

In 2012, Samsung generated more than twice as much revenues from phone sales than the other six vendors combined.

This is in stark contrast with 2008, when Samsung’s device revenue was only 36 percent of the total Top 7 revenue and only slightly higher than that of Sony Mobile, which had 30 percent.

Asian manufacturers are on the rise again after absorbing the hit from the iPhone introduction.

In a May 14 report Gartner said Chinese mobile phone manufacturers – led by ZTE, Huawei, etc — increased their share in smartphone market to 29 percent in the first quarter of 2013 from 13.2 percent a year ago.

Yankee Group says the influence of the Top 7 mobile device manufacturers comes in waves.

During the period from 2005 to 2008, the Top 7’s share of global handset shipments increased every year. However, it dropped each of the next three years, a trend that emerged after the launch of Apple’s iPhone in 2007. Last year, the share again went up and reached its peak at 38 percent.

Most phone manufacturers are struggling to make money. Excluding Samsung, the other six top Asian vendors are struggling to maintain regular and consistent profit.

In the fourth quarter of 2012, Sony Mobile registered its sixth consecutive quarter with an operating loss. LG has alternated quarterly profits with quarterly losses the last couple of years, and HTC’s profit in Q4 2012 was just about 3 percent of its value a year and a half prior.

“With 55 percent of the global population residing in the Asia-Pacific region and with relatively low mobile penetration compared to Europe, North America and Latin America, we expect the Asian handset manufacturers to have growing influence on local markets and worldwide,” said Yankee Group Senior Analyst Boris Metodiev.

According to Informa, Samsung’s strategy in Africa, where it has smartphone market share of around 10 percent, is to think globally, act locally. The device major has assembly plants in South Africa, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Senegal, Mali and north Sudan, and is aiming for sales of $3 billion sales in 2012, up $1 billion on 2011, and African revenue increasing to $10 billion by 2015.

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