Samsung is tipped to lead the Chinese mobile phone market in 2012, while Nokia slumps from first to seventh place, according to a report from Taiwan's Digitimes. The research company predicts that handset sales will grow by 9 percent to 430 million units in 2012, compared with 390 million units in 2011. Almost a third of these -- around 143 million units -- will be smartphones.
China is now the world's largest phone market, and Digitimes expects it to account for 20 percent of global Apple iPhone shipments in 2012, or more if China Mobile starts selling the handset.
Although Samsung, from South Korea, and Apple, from the US, will be the market leaders in smartphones, Digitimes expects the four big China-based suppliers -- Huawei, ZTE, Lenovo and Coolpad -- to take the next four places. Including Nokia, the "top seven" will take 85 percent of the market.
Assuming Nokia's slump continues this year, five of the top six suppliers will be selling smartphones running Google's Android operating system. Digitimes expects Android to take 70 percent of the smartphone market, which is similar to figures provided in my 11 July post, Android dominates China's smartphone market. Briefly, Analysys International put Android's market share at 76.6 percent in the first quarter of this year, while Needham & Company put it at 69.5 percent for the second quarter.
The emergence of dominant brands is probably not good news for the large number of mobile phone suppliers who, according China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), have launched 2,099 new phone models over the past six months, including 822 smartphone models.
In China smartphone market 2012: Trends and analysis, Digitimes says: "the many other brands hoping to seize a share of the market will essentially be confined to competing for a potential market of just 15 percent of overall shipments or around 21 million handsets. Given such a situation, Digitimes Research projects that many of China's best known smaller brands such as Xiaomi, TCL, Gionee, Tianyu, Oppo and BBK will see shipments of no more than a few million handsets."