Mon, Aug 26, 2013 - Page 14 News List

Home-grown smartphone brands on the rise: IDC

ELBOW ROOM:Despite the smartphone market being dominated by major brands, the researcher said there is space for smaller firms to carve out a niche

Staff writer, with CNA

Home-grown brands are seeing steady growth in the Asia-Pacific smartphone market, excluding Japan, at the expense of international brands, according to tech-tracking firm International Data Corp (IDC).

As part of a global trend, smartphones recently outshipped feature phones for the first time in the Asia-Pacific region, reaching 119 million units, or 53 percent of the total mobile phones shipped during the second quarter of the year, IDC said in a report on Thursday last week.

Aside from top-tier international brands or Chinese brands that also ship globally, such as Huawei Technologies Co Ltd (華為) and ZTE Corp (中興), there are also home-grown brands which, as a group, have seen a steady increase in their shipments and prominence, the report said.

This group of firms accounted for 38 percent of second-quarter smartphone shipments in the region, up from 20 percent a year earlier and 7 percent in the second quarter of 2011, the report said. By contrast, leading international brands Samsung Electronics Co and Apple Inc accounted for 24 percent and 6 percent respectively, while smaller international brands — including HTC Corp (宏達電), Nokia Oyj, Sony Corp, LG Electronics Co, BlackBerry Ltd and Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc — took only a combined 9 percent share.

“In emerging markets like China and India, IDC has seen many local competitors spring up, but only in the last few quarters have we seen them aggressively scale up competitively on both price and hardware specs like bigger screens,” said Melissa Chau, a Singapore-based research manager with IDC.

“We are now hitting a place where there are smartphones for every price point, where the masses will benefit from the slew of players bringing in more options,” she said in the report.

These home-grown players compete with prices under US$200 or even under US$50, offering smartphones with adequate specifications, such as screens larger than 4 inches and dual-core processors, IDC said.

Many of them are not new players, but use the distribution networks they built while they were selling feature phones, the research firm said.

IDC also forecast that smartphone sales in emerging markets are set to balloon from 400 million units this year to 749 million units in 2017, driving future growth in the increasingly competitive industry.

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