Published: Wed, February 12, 2020
Markets | By Otis Pena

China's Q1 smartphone sales may halve due to coronavirus

China's Q1 smartphone sales may halve due to coronavirus

China's smartphone sales may plunge by as much as 50 percent in the first quarter, as many retail shops have closed for an extended period and production has yet to fully resume due to the fast spread of a new coronavirus, according to research reports.

TrendForce, a world leading market intelligence provider, said it expects global smartphone production in the first quarter to decline 12 per cent year-on-year to 275 million units, following the coronavirus outbreak that has killed more than 900 people in China.

"Product launches planned by sellers will be canceled or delayed, since large public events are not allowed in China", the research firm Canalys said in a note last week. Oppo sold 6.8 million smartphones, down 20.4 percent year-on-year, and now has a smartphone market share of 17.1 percent in China. IDC highlights Huawei's Mate 30 Pro strong performance and vivo's successful iQOO brand as the main driving factors for Huawei's and vivo's market performance in 2019. Foxconn, the main iPhone assembler, is also working to fully restore the factory. But like many other local pairs, Huawei relies heavily on third-party manufacturers for production. Keeping in line with that, China's popular Android brands including Xiaomi, Huawei, and Oppo are all slated to unveil their flagship devices in Q1 2020.

Despite the virus affecting operations at a few local factories, Oppo told Reuters that "manufacturing capacity can be guaranteed effectively" as it has plants located overseas as well.

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Xiaomi did not respond to requests for comments.

IDC analyst Will Wong said, "The delays in reopening factories and the labor return time will not only affect shipments to stores, but it will also affect the product launch times in the mid- and long-term".

Experts believe that less than all the epidemic of the coronavirus will suffer from South Korea's Samsung, a large part of production is concentrated in Vietnam.

TrendForce Company has also lowered its forecast for the production of smartphones for the first quarter of 2020. TrendForce expected quarterly smartphone shipments Apple within 41 million units, which is approximately 10% below originally estimated at 45.5 million units.

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