China offers companies such as Apple, Samsung, Lenovo, and more the world’s largest smartphone market, but according to one analyst, this market could be in the process of cooling. As such, the launch of Apple’s iPhone with China Mobile next month may not be the golden ticket industry analysts previous claimed.
The report reached us from USA Today, which explains that Apple, Samsung, and their competitors will have to fight hard for China’s 1.2 billion mobile subscribers, since this number - though grand - has actually reduced over the last few months. Citing data from Wedge Partners, the publication explains that in November, the combined total of activations on all of China’s wireless networks was 11 million, and continues:
Last month’s total was the lowest of the year and fell from 13.4 million in October and more than 17 million in September, according to Wedge analyst Jun Zhang.
The Dec. 23 report estimates monthly smartphone user growth will decelerate by about 27%, to a range of 12.5 million to 13 million new 3G subscribers in the fourth quarter, from a monthly range of 17 million to 18 million in the third quarter
USA Today explains that the impending launch of Apple’s iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c with China Mobile “may have come just as that country’s smartphone market growth has begun to slow.” In this respect, the supermassive sales figures predicted for the China Mobile iPhone (one of which envisaged China Mobile iPhone sales of 24 million handsets for 2014) could have been more than a little optimistic.
It’s important to acknowledge, however, that with the launch of China Mobile’s TD-LTE super fast wireless network, it’s unsurprising subscribers haven’t been flocking to sign-up to inferior plans during the months leading up to Christmas. China Mobile, China Unicom, and China Telecom all have 4G licenses approved, with the former carrier having launched its own network on Dec. 18. This could explain why smartphone activations during the third and fourth quarter of 2013, in particular, have been gradually decreasing.
Either way, it’ll be interesting to see how China’s smartphone market develops in 2014. We’ll keep you updated with further information as we receive it.