Taipei, Dec. 19 (CNA) Low-priced products will drive Taiwan’s smartphone market in 2012 because of fierce competition and local companies’ ability to adapt to market conditions, International Data Corp. (IDC) predicted Monday.
“The smartphone market is entering a mature stage and price competition will be even severe,” Helen Chiang, senior research manager at IDC, said at a conference in Taipei held to discuss the 10 major trends for Taiwan’s IT industry next year.
“Low-price smartphones will speed up replacements from feature phones to smartphones,” she continued. “Smartphones under US$150 (NT$4,557) will grow in terms of unit sales and market share in 2012.”
Smartphone penetration in Taiwan has grown from a 12 percent share of the total mobile phone market in 2009, to 25 percent in 2010 and 51 percent this year, a level similar to that seen in the United States and some Western European countries, according to the research firm.
The rate is expected to hit 60 percent in Taiwan next year.
At the same time, shipments of under-US$150 smartphones will increase from 20,000 units in 2011 to 500,000 units next year, taking a 10 percent share of the country’s smartphone market in 2012 compared with only 0.5 percent this year, IDC said.
A total of 4.2 million smartphones are expected to be shipped in Taiwan this year and the number will exceed 5 million next year, the research firm predicted.
Chiang also expected that Taiwan’s telecom operators will launch more low-priced smartphones using rising Chinese handset brands, such as ZTE Corp. and Huawei Technologies Co., which have advantages of time to market and cost reduction.
Separately, IDC predicted that Taiwan’s IT market will grow 7.8 percent year-on-year in 2012, lower than the 8.5 percent forecast for this year.
Chiang said the forecast reflected weaker global demand for exports from Taiwan due to the impact of European debt crisis.
Taiwan’s presidential election on Jan. 14 will also create an “open window” from January to May before the new president takes office, in which the public sector is expected to limit its investment and slow the growth of the entire IT market.