Wednesday, June 22, 2011

International smartphone vendors face competition from local brands in Southeast Asia

With sales ratios of smartphones to total handset sales in some markets in the Southeast Asia region expecting to grow about from 10% currently to 40-50% in the next 3-5 years, the region is becoming a battle field for all smartphone vendors, according to sources at Taiwan handset makers.

Branded handset vendors such as Nokia, RIM, HTC and Samsung Electronics, which have the comparative advantage of already built up footholds in the region, are set to meet with strong competition from local brands in the area, commented the sources.

Although Nokia has seen its share in the global handset market continue to decline recently, the vendor remains the largest vendor of feature phones in the region and is expected to further strengthen its competitiveness after its switches to the Windows Phone platform, indicated the sources.

RIM, Samsung and HTC are expected to continue to expand their shares in the region as RIM has been successfully selling its QWERTY models in Indonesia, while Samsung and HTC both have strong product portfolios, the sources added.

However, some local brand vendors in the region, including Spice and Micromax of India, Nexian of Indonesia, i-Mobile of Thailand and G'Five of China, will serve as strong contenders to compete with international brand vendors as they are able to offer multiple models with special features at low prices, said the sources.

Sales ratios of smartphones in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand are expected to top 50% in 2015, while the comparable ratio in Vietnam is likely to reach 36.7% during the period, according to market research firm Canalys.

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