Local handset makers are giving Nokia a run for its money in Asian markets such as Indonesia and India, where the Finnish company has traditionally been strong in, even as the region's mobile market is expected to grow by 6.9 percent in 2012.
In a research note released on Monday, ABI Research stated that the Asian handset market will see 624 million devices sold by the end of the year, thus representing a 6.9 percent year-on-year growth.
"The Asian handset market has a lot going for it," commented Jake Saunders, vice president for forecasting at ABI Research, who added growth is coming from developed markets such as South Korea and Japan as well as China, Indonesia, and India.
Nokia's hold weakens
The research estimated some 203 million handsets will be sold in India this year, while Indonesia should reach 57 million. These figures represent 11.2 percent and 16 percent on-year growth, respectively.
As the market expands though, Nokia's hold on these markets show signs of weakening. The research showed that while the Finnish phonemaker held on to 37 percent market share in India in 2011, local vendors such as G'Five, Micromax, Karbonn, and Spice, as well as foreign ones such as Samsung, were "not far behind".
In Indonesia, Nokia's market share shrank to 21 percent last year as Research In Motion, Nexian, HT Mobile, and Cross made inroads, it added.
For more advanced markets such as South Korea and Japan, customers are actively eyeing 4G-enabled handsets, which in turn has curbed Apple's influence as the U.S. giant has yet to launch LTE-ready mobile phones.
ABI Research stated that while Apple's iPhone sold well in South Korea during 2010 and 2011, the discerning local consumers have decided to go with LTE phones from rivals such as Samsung, LG Electronics and Pantech as seen by their additional sales volume.