Home-grown smartphone brands rising in Asia-Pacific region: IDC


TAIPEI–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 the global trend, smartphones outshipped feature phones for the first time in the Asia-Pacific region, reaching 119 million units, or 53 percent of the total mobile phones during the second quarter of this year, IDC said in an Aug. 22 report.

Aside from the top-tier international brands or Chinese brands that also ship globally, such as Huawei and ZTE, there is also an increasing segment of home-grown brands which, as a group, have been steadily rising in shipments and prominence, the report said.

This group of players comprised 38 percent of the second-quarter smartphone volumes in the region, up from 20 percent one 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. made up 24 percent and 6 percent, respectively, of the second-quarter smartphone shipments, while smaller international brands — including HTC Corp. of Taiwan, Nokia, Sony, LG, BlackBerry and Motorola — 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 wrote in the report.

These home-grown players compete on 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, according to IDC.

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

IDC also forecast that smartphones in emerging markets are set to balloon from 400 million units in 2013 to 749 million units in 2017, driving future growth in the competitive smartphone industry.