China to drive 5G smartphone adoption rate, expected to be 10 times that of 4G era, says researcher IDC

29-Nov-2019 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Although global smartphone growth is likely to remain subdued in coming years, consumers are expected to embrace the next-generation 5G network in its early stages, driving up the 5G share of the total market, according to a forecast by research firm International Data Corporation (IDC).

The researcher has raised its short-term 5G forecast due to recent developments in the China market and in anticipation of aggressive activity from the smartphone supply chain and outsourcing providers, said Ryan Reith, programme vice-president with IDC’s Worldwide Mobile Device Trackers.

In 2020, the first year 5G phones will roll out on a large scale, a total of 190 million 5G-enabled smartphones are expected to be shipped, accounting for 14 per cent of total smartphones shipments for the year, according to an IDC note released on Tuesday, which also forecast a tepid 1.5 per cent year-on-year growth in global smartphone shipments, the first positive growth in three years.

IDC noted that in 2010, the first year 4G was introduced, the new handsets only achieved 1.3 per cent market penetration, one tenth of the expected pick up for 5G.

While South Korea, the US, Australia and the UK launched initial commercial 5G services in the second quarter, Chinese carriers have pinned their hopes on mass adoption of 5G services amid a government push behind the new technology, which promises lightning fast wireless connections, reduced latency and massive data capacity.

Major smartphone vendors in China all started introducing 5G handsets before the 5G network’s official launch in November, targeting consumers hungry for the faster download speeds, whose peak rates could be up to 100 times faster than what current 4G networks provide.

“There is little doubt that China will quickly become the lead market in terms of 5G volume, but other important markets like the US, Korea, United Kingdom, and Canada are all expected to help drive 2020 volume,” said IDC’s Reith.

“The real story here is around pricing, which includes both hardware and service. We are very confident that 5G smartphone prices will come down quickly in order for this market segment to grow,” he added.

Xiaomi, China’s fourth largest smartphone brand, is planning to launch at least 10 5G smartphone models next year in response to the huge market opportunities arising from widespread adoption of 5G technology, founder and chief executive Lei Jun said in a statement on Wednesday after the company announced its third-quarter report to the Hong Kong stock exchange.

Although Xiaomi’s first mass-produced 5G phone, the Mi 9 5G edition, has been priced from 3,699 yuan (US$526), Lei said last month that all of its phones priced above 2,000 yuan next year will support the next-generation network.

While major Android phone vendors such as Samsung, Huawei, Oppo and Vivo released 5G phones earlier this year, Apple still does not have a 5G iPhone. However, the US company told its supply chain partners to expect over 100 million orders for a 5G iPhone to be launched in late 2020, according to Taipei-based newspaper DigiTimes on Monday.


Category: China

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