ARM sees smartphone market growing 10 pct annually through 2018

TAIPEI, June 5 Thu Jun 5, 2014 2:56am EDT

TAIPEI, June 5 (Reuters) - Britain's ARM Holdings, which designs chips used in almost all smartphones, said annual growth in global smartphone shipments is likely to average 10 percent through 2018, with most of that growth coming from low-priced handsets in emerging markets.

Over that time frame, annual growth will be 17 percent for phones priced below $150, 14 percent for those at $150 to $300, and just 4 percent for handsets above $300 - a category that includes Apple Inc's iPhone - Chief Executive Simon Segars told Reuters at Taiwan's Computex trade fair.

"These low-cost devices are going to have a big impact on the market," Segars said. "There are smartphones out there now that sell for $20 to $25 dollars, which is phenomenal."

About 90 percent of all smartphones feature chips designed with ARM technology, so the trend toward lower handset prices led to ARM's first-quarter profit growing less than in previous years.

To adjust to the changing landscape, ARM client Qualcomm Inc plans to sell its first chips tailored to China, the world's biggest smartphone market, where low-priced phones dominate.

Researcher IDC projects growth in worldwide smartphone shipments to reach 19.3 percent this year and then slow to 6.2 percent in 2018. That would follow last year's 39.2 percent when annual shipments topped 1 billion units for the first time. (Editing by Christopher Cushing)

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