5G phones account for less than 1% of sales in China

Although most Chinese smartphone brands have launched 5G phones, their sales in China remain a very small portion due to high prices and limited network coverage.
Written by Cyrus Lee, Contributor

Are 5G smartphones already a trend in China after all these new releases? Sales figures suggest otherwise. 

In August, only 219,000 units of 5G smartphones were sold in China, accounting for 0.7% of the overall 30.8 million units of handsets that were sold in the country during that month, according to data from the government-backed China Academy of Information and Communications Technology.

Even compared with feature phones that have almost disappeared from the public eye in most Chinese cities due to the vast penetration of 4G networks, 5G phone sales in August still paled in comparison to the 1.2 million 2G phones sold in the same period, according to the official data.

Although major Chinese smartphone brands have all released their 5G phones to tap consumers that are keen for the next-generation network, industry experts said high prices and limited network coverage have prevented consumers from purchasing one, according to a Science and Technology Daily (STD) report published on Wednesday.

China's leading brand Huawei, which is offering huge discounts for Chinese consumers, has currently priced its cheapest 5G Mate 30 models around 5,000 yuan ($700) per unit in China. 

Vivo's 5G Nex3 phone is offered at about 5,700 yuan, double the price of its ordinary handsets sold in the Chinese market. Xiaomi has also launched its own 5G phones, while ZTE introduced its 5G handsets in mid-2019.

In the meantime, China is yet to fully complete its 5G network development, but first-tier cities like Beijing and Shanghai are expected to have full 5G network coverage in key areas by the end of the year. Other Chinese cities, meanwhile, are mostly still in the initial stages of mapping out 5G coverage, according to the STD report.

Despite poor sales of 5G phones in China, local consumers are still excited about the incoming 5G networks, as more than 10 million users have registered for 5G plans from the local Chinese carriers Chinese Mobile, China Telecom, and China Unicom, according to another Chinese report on Wednesday.

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