Smartphone shipments from local manufacturers plunged to 4.3 million units last quarter as local brands failed to boost demand of their new flagship phones during the year-end shopping season, a Taipei-based market researcher said.
The figure hit the lowest level in two years, according to a report released by the Market Intelligence and Consulting Institute (MIC, 資策會) on Thursday.
Smartphone shipments last quarter sank 41.2 percent from the 10.43 million units during the same period in 2012. On a quarterly basis, shipments edged 1.3 percent lower from 4.38 million units, MIC’s report showed.
Market information advisory firm GfK said the decline in 2013 was brought on by fewer people seeking to swap out their phones along with a high comparison base of sales in 2012.
To broaden its product portfolio, HTC Corp (宏達電) in October last year launched its first phablet, the HTC One max.
NO FIRE TO SNAPDRAGON
However, the high-end 5.9 inch smartphone model, featuring Qualcomm Inc’s Snapdragon 600 mobile processor did not stimulate strong market demand in the end, MIC said.
“Without outstanding specs, the HTC One Max did not receive strong market response, and the company’s growth momentum was dragged as a result,” the market researcher said in the report.
MIC said the Snapdragon 600 mobile processor was the cause behind disappointing sales of the HTC One max, as the smartphone is less competitive than Samsung Electronics Co’s Galaxy Note 3, Sony Corp’s Xperia Z1 and LG Electronics Inc’s G2 smartphones, which all sport more advanced Snapdragon 800 chipsets from Qualcomm.
Yet HTC’s flagship model, the new HTC One, launched in February last year, continued to play a key role in bolstering the company’s shipment last quarter, alongside with its mid-end HTC One Mini and Desire-series smartphone products, MIC said.
Smartphones supporting 4G LTE technology accounted for 31.4 percent of the total shipments from Taiwan in the fourth quarter of last year, MIC said.
Most Taiwanese smartphone makers shipped phones supporting the widely adopted, fourth-generation (4G) technology — referred to as frequency-division-duplexing long term evolution (FDD-LTE).
Local smartphone models included the new HTC One Max, the HTC One Mini and Acer Inc’s (宏碁) mid-end smartphone model, Liquid S2, MIC said.
HTC is one of a very few local firms starting to offer some of its HTC One Max models equipped with handset chips supporting China’s 4G LTE technology, time-division long-term evolution (TD-LTE) technology, which it supplies its Chinese client China Mobile Ltd (中國移動).
MIC expected local companies would expand their 4G LTE portions to 40 percent in the current quarter, helped by an increase in orders from China’s three biggest telecom operators: China Mobile, China Unicom Ltd (中國聯通) and China Telecom Corp Ltd (中國電信).
Additional reporting by CNA