China is not only the world’s most populous nation, it’s also the world’s largest base of mobile device users. But the growth of China’s smartphone market may not be as impressive as previously believed.
New data suggests that smartphone sales growth has been slowing this year.
In fact, average 3G user growth clocked in at 18 million new users per month in the third quarter of 2013 based on data from investment firm Wedge Partners. But this growth fell to around 13 million new users per month in the fourth quarter.
Analyst Jun Zhang insists that sales of leading smartphones in China were negatively impacted by slowing smartphone sell-through in the Chinese market.
“We believe smartphone sell-through also dropped from 26-30 mln per month in the August/September period to 20 million in October and 18-19 million in November,” Zhang writes. “Overall, smartphone sell-through will drop 25% QoQ in Q4, even with an expected slight rebound of smartphone sales in December.”
Many market researchers and industry analysts are stunned by this surprising news out of China, but remain optimistic about a spike in growth next year due to the arrival of new smartphones to China Mobile, including Apple’s iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c.