Mon, Dec 17, 2018 - Page 15 News List

Top smartphone brands expected to hold market positions

By Chen Cheng-hui  /  Staff reporter

The world’s top six smartphone brands are expected to hold their positions in the market next year, even though the overall market has declined for four consecutive quarters and could remain sluggish over the next few quarters, Yuanta Securities Investment Consulting Co (元大投顧) said in a report last week.

Samsung Electronics Co is expected to remain the market leader, with shipments next year increasing 2 percent year-on-year to 300 million units, Yuanta said on Tuesday.

Huawei Technologies Co (華為) is expected to extend its lead over Apple Inc in smartphones, ranking second with shipments growing 12.5 percent to 225 million units, it said.

Among the top six brands, Apple is the only one expected to see shipments decline annually next year, down 4 percent to 203 million units, while Xiaomi Corp (小米), Oppo Mobile Telecommunications Corp (歐珀) and Vivo Communication Technology Co (維沃) would remain in fourth, fifth and sixth respectively, the report showed.

Overall, Yuanta said the global smartphone market is likely to see a continued decline in its growth rate, with 0.5 percent next year, following an estimated 3 percent contraction this year.

“With relatively slow progress on new technological innovations in 2019, not only would the smartphone replacement cycle be prolonged, but content value per smartphone would also be squeezed more,” Yuanta researcher Nicole Tu (塗景婷) said in the report.

Also on Tuesday, International Data Corp (IDC) said in its Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker report that global smartphone shipments are expected to decline by 3 percent to 1.42 billion units this year before returning to growth of 2.6 percent next year, reaching 1.57 billion units in 2022.

“With many of the large global companies focusing on high-end product launches, hoping to draw in consumers looking to upgrade based on specifications and premium devices, we can expect head-to-head competition within this segment during the holiday quarter and into 2019 to be exceptionally high,” IDC senior analyst Sangeetika Srivastava said in a statement.

IDC said the ongoing US-China trade dispute would have the industry on edge, but added that continued developments from emerging markets, mixed with potential applications related to 5G wireless technology and new product form factors — including size, configuration and physical arrangement of a mobile device — would bring the smartphone market back to positive growth from next year to 2022.

Even so, Yuanta said there are growing uncertainties in the market over the near term, citing recent events such as Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou’s (孟晚舟) arrest in Canada and the ongoing legal dispute between Apple and Qualcomm Inc.

“Huawei would be under pressure if the US government were to ban US vendors from shipping crucial components or software to Huawei,” Tu said. “China’s recent banning of sales of older iPhone would impact Apple, while any limiting of Qualcomm chip sales in China would impact Xiaomi, Vivo and Oppo most.”

Against this backdrop, there are implications for Taiwanese firms in the top brands’ supply chains, but a few leading players — such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電) and Largan Precision Co (大立光) — could weather the uncertainties more effectively, because they are irreplaceable, providing the most advanced products and services, Tu said.

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