China was the world’s biggest purchaser of handsets compatible with 5G networks.
5G smartphone shipments in China accounted for 46% of the global total last year, according to a report by research firm Counterpoint. The country started commercial roll out of 5G services in October 2019.
Huawei and its sub-brand Honor captured a combined 74% of China’s 5G smartphone sales last year. But globally, the embattled Chinese company was eclipsed by its South Korean rival Samsung, which was the world’s biggest 5G smartphone vendor with a global market share of over 40% in 2019, the report said.
Counterpoint also said that China’s Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak will have an impact on the global smartphone market as nearly half of the world’s smartphones are made in China, where the epidemic has disrupted the supply chains of many handset makers and led to the shutdown of many brick-and-mortar stores selling the devices.
“The OEMs which will be affected the most are the ones having production facilities in the Wuhan area like Lenovo and Motorola, and the ones for whom China is the major market like Huawei,” Counterpoint analyst Varun Mishra said in a statement, making reference to hardware companies. “OEMs like Realme, Honor, and Xiaomi, which are more reliant on online distribution are likely to be least affected compared to those that have a relatively high share of offline sales,” the analyst added.
Mishra predicted that the Chinese smartphone market may see a 20% drop in sales in the first quarter of 2020 due to the epidemic.
According to a report by another research firm, Strategy Analytics, global shipments of 5G smartphones are likely to reach 199 million units in 2020, a dramatic growth from 19 million units shipped in 2019.
Contact reporter Ding Yi (email@example.com)