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Cellphone sales down 3% ending 5 years of growth

TAIPEI--Cellphone sales in Taiwan fell for the first time in five years last year, when they dropped about 3 percent, a research report said yesterday.

Market information advisory firm GfK said the decline in 2013 was brought on by fewer people seeking to swap out their phones along with a high comparison base of sales in 2012.

Robert Wu, a senior analyst with GfK, said 8.44 million mobilephones were sold in 2013, with smartphones accounting for about 84 percent of the total sales.

High-end smartphone models — those with a price tag of NT$15,000 (US$495) and up — accounted for less than half of total smartphone sales.

Wu attributed the depressed demand for high-end models to the rising popularity of mid-and entry-level smartphones that meet a wide range of consumer demands.

Big-screened smartphones have become the mainstream, the advisory firm said, noting the popularity of phablets, supersized phones approaching the size of a tablet.

Smartphones with screens of 4.5 inches or larger accounted for more than half of all smartphone sales last year, the firm's report said, while in the fourth quarter, phablets made up more than 10 percent of smartphone sales.

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