Big developing countries fuel surge in smartphone sales in S-E Asia

Big developing countries fuel surge in smartphone sales in S-E Asia

SINGAPORE - Smartphone sales in South-east Asia spiked by 44 per cent in volume and 24 per cent in value in the 12-month period up to August, compared to the same period the previous year, according to latest data.

Big developing countries in the region, like Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand, are "fuelling the strong surge in adoption as many outside the big cities are probably just making the switch from their basic feature phone and acquiring their first smartphone" said Mr Gerard Tan, account director for digital world at GfK Asia.

The latest findings by GfK showed that total sales of smartphones in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Cambodia hit nearly 120 million units, and more than US$16.4 billion (S$20.9 billion), in the 12 months between Sept 2013 and Aug 2014.

The fastest growing markets in terms of volume turnover were Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand, which reported spike in demand of 70, 56 and 44 per cent respectively. "The markets of Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand have performed extremely well this year, reporting high growth of over 30 per cent in generated revenue and even more in sales volume," said Mr Tan.

One of the factors driving growth in developing countries is the introduction of more low-end models by Chinese manufacturers, said GfK in a statement today.

"Although international brands dominate the region's smartphone market, Chinese brands are gaining significant presence," said Mr Tan. "Major international brands are losing shares to the Chinese brands in price competition due to the low-cost of the latter which are selling their smartphones, including phablets, within the US$50 to US$200 range."

While an internationally branded smartphone averaged at around US$253, a Chinese-branded one cost only US$159 - 58 per cent lower, said GfK.

sinsh@sph.com.sg

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