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China's smartphone shipment forecast to rise 27%

TAIPEI--Shipments of smartphones from China are expected to continue rising in 2014, after increasing 62.4 percent to 314 million units last year, according to a Taiwanese research institute.

Driven by the promotion of the 4G Long-Term Evolution network, China's smartphone shipments are expected to reach 400 million units this year, up 27.38 percent from a year earlier, Digitimes Research said in a research note.

Over 30 percent of the 400 million units will be shipped overseas, mainly to emerging markets, such as Southeast Asian countries and India, the research institute predicted.

Since June, makers and telecom operators in China have provided more subsidies on 4G smartphones, to boost the number of new 4G network users in the country, which only totaled 8 million people, far lower than expected, the research note said.

With more subsidies and new models available, the demand for new smartphones will be stronger, Digitimes Research said.

The U.S.-based industry analyst firm IHS Technology held a similar view, predicting a growing 4G handset market in China.

IHS Technology said in a report in late May that the market for China's 4G handsets will reach an estimated 90 million units in 2014, as the main wireless carriers make strong marketing pushes to attract 4G customers.

The strong demand will by driven by China Mobile Ltd., the world's biggest mobile carrier by subscribers, although the Chinese operator has reportedly cut its 4G device sales target to 70 million units this year, from an earlier projection of 100 million units, the research firm said.

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