October 7, 2015 / 7:10 AM / 4 years ago

Japan's Murata sees slowdown in global smartphone market growth

CHIBA, Japan (Reuters) - Global demand for smartphones is likely to slow in the next fiscal year due to weaker demand from the world’s biggest market China, the head of Japanese smartphone component maker Murata Manufacturing Co told Reuters on Wednesday.

Chief Executive Tsuneo Murata said growth for the fiscal year starting April 2016 would be in the high, single digits, below the 12 percent growth forecast by the company for fiscal 2015/16.

Murata, however, said this slowdown was unlikely to hurt the company’s business because demand for the high-end phones it provides parts for is expected to remain robust.

“Everyone seems to be worried about the future of the smartphone market, but there should be no change to growth in demand for high-speed and high-performance handsets,” said Murata, one of the sons of the Kyoto-based company’s founder.

“Such high-end handsets need to use more of our products.”

Weakness in China’s smartphone market had prompted Mizuho Securities to cut its rating on Murata to “underperform” from “neutral” after market hours on Tuesday, driving the company’s shares to close down 4.6 percent on Wednesday compared to a 0.8 percent gain in the benchmark index.

Murata is the world’s biggest supplier of ceramic capacitors, tiny parts that control the flow of electricity in a variety of products including smartphones and TVs. It also controls 45 percent of the global market for surface acoustic wave filters, a key smartphone part which handles radio signals.

The company’s customers include most of the world’s major smartphone makers, including Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, but Murata said the firm was now aiming to expand in areas outside smartphones, such as auto components.

Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki and Reiji Murai; Editing by Miral Fahmy

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