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1 In 4 Phones Sold In China

By Oonagh Reidy | Wednesday | 15/05/2013

Hungry Chinese gobbling up mobiles - and account for one in four sold globally.

Sales of mobile phones fell globally bar Asia/Pacific in the first quarter 2013 and 50% of phones sold were smartphones like Samsung Galaxy SIII and iPhone. 

Mobile sales totaled nearly 426 million in Jan-March, half of which were sold in Asia/Pacific mainly China, according to Gartner. 

Smartphone sales rose a massive 43% percent to 210 million, while sales of dumb phones slumped. Samsung (No. 1), Apple, LG, and Chinese brands Huawei and ZTE all made in into the top 5 in the smartphone charts. 

In China local manufacturers like Huawei, ZTE and TCL are making faster inroads in the market, and account for 30% of smartphones sold, although LG moved ahead of Chinese brand ZTE for the No. 4 position

However, Samsung are flying high in the Chinese led demand for smartphones, and remained the No. 1 phone maker globally in Q1, growing 13%, according to Gartner figures. 

The Galaxy S4 maker now has 31% share of the smartphone market selling over 64 million devices, and analysts predict the S4 to be a hit among tech hungry consumers.

"We expect the new Galaxy S4 to be very popular despite being more of an evolution than a truly revolutionary device compared to the S3," said Anshul Gupta, principal analyst, Gartner. 

Apple sales hit 38 million in the quarter, or 18% of the market, and was able to burn some of inventory built at the end of 2012 as iPhone 5 was rolling out, ahead of the Chinese New Year. 

China is a key contributor to overall sales for Apple (its second biggest market) - sales hit 7 million in mainland China thanks to the lower price of iPhone 4. 

However, "Apple is faced with the challenge of being increasingly dependent on the replacement market as its addressable market is capped," warns Gupta. 

The next two quarters will also be "challenging" for Cupertino, as no new products are expected before the third quarter of 2013, he added. 

However, former Euro phone king Nokia fell to tenth position in the smartphone charts from the No. 8 spot a year ago, although held on to the No. 2 spot thanks to strength in feature or 'dumb' phones. 

Sales dropped 5% and "Nokia is yet to see high growth in the smartphone segment" analysts warned, although Windows Phone sales improved to just over 5 million. 

The Asia/Pacific region, which includes Australia, was the only region to show growth in mobile market, up almost 6.5% - a whopping 226 million mobiles were sold Asia/Pacific users alone.  

AP now accounts for over half (53%) of the worlds mobile market, as recession hit US dropped 10%, Europe fell 4% and Japan fell over 7%. 

China market accounted for 25% of mobile demand globally, or one in four phones sold, as sales rose 7.5%. 

"The Chinese and local manufacturers have been exemplary at addressing the demands of buyers by offering affordable devices with optimum features such as 2.5G (EDGE) instead of 3G in a smartphone," said Gupta. 

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