BEIJING Feb 13 The explosive growth of
smartphone sales in China, the world's biggest smartphone
market, has come to a halt as unit shipments declined for the
first time in more than two years, data firm IDC said on
Shipments of smartphones in China fell 4.3 percent to 90.8
million in the fourth quarter from 94.8 million units in the
previous one, the first drop-off since the second quarter of
2011, according to IDC.
"The world has increasingly looked to China as the
powerhouse to propel the world's smartphone growth and this is
the first hiccup we've seen in an otherwise stellar growth
path," said Melissa Chau, a senior research manager with IDC.
"We are now starting to see a market that is becoming less
about capturing the low-hanging fruit of first time smartphone
users and moving into the more laborious process of convincing
existing users why they should upgrade to this year's model."
Apple Inc's deal with China Mobile Ltd
and the country's rollout of high-speed 4G mobile networks will
encourage adoption of 4G-compatible smartphones and help
shore-up growth, according to IDC.
Growth however, is shifting to other emerging markets, IDC
said, as China's smartphone market becomes increasingly
Chinese smartphone manufacturers like Lenovo Group Ltd
, which acquired Google Inc's Motorola handset
unit for $2.9 billion last month, Huawei
Technologies Co, ZTE Corp and
Xiaomi Tech are already chasing overseas expansion.