APAC ships 360M mobile phones

Mobile phone shipments grew 18 percent in 2007 to 366 million over the previous year, and is expected to exceed 400 million by end-2008, IDC says.

Over 366 million mobile phones were shipped last year across the Asia-Pacific region, excluding Japan, registering an 18 percent increase from 2006, according to latest figures from IDC.

The analyst also projected the region would clock over 400 million units by the end of 2008, accounting for a 10 percent year-on-year increase.

Coining China and India Asia's "twin engines" of growth, IDC's research manager for personal systems Aloysius Choong, said the two countries accounted for 60 percent of the region's overall shipment. India, in particular, is expected to continue its growth path and see a further 19 percent increase by year-end, Choong said in a statement Friday.

China currently has a mobile penetration rate of 40 percent, while India has a penetration rate of 20 percent, according to IDC.

The research house said mobile number portability to further boost update in India, which is expected to launch the infrastructure in end-2008.

Number portability allows mobile subscribers to retain their numbers when they switch to another service provider.

Nokia retains dominance
According to IDC figures, handset maker Nokia retained its stronghold with a 50 percent market share last year, compared to 42 percent in 2006.

Motorola, however, lost its No. 2 position in 2006 and dropped to third placing last year, after losing half of its market share. The vendor suffered "waning" sales from its Razr series, IDC said, adding that Motorola's move away from ultra-low end segment also affected its overall shipment. This decision had enabled more domestic players in China, for example, to make a play for the market with affordable handsets, the analyst said.

Motorola's loss is Samsung's gain, as the latter leaped to No. 2 position last year with its 3G product lineup, IDC said. Sony Ericsson and LG retained their fourth and fifth positions, respectively.

According to a Gartner report released February 2008, worldwide mobile phone shipments exceeded 1.15 billion units in 2007, a 16 percent hike from 990.9 million 2006. Nokia holds its No. 1 ranking in the global mobile market last year, Gartner said, followed by Motorola and Samsung in second and third positions, respectively.