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High demand for 4G handsets in China: report

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The market for China's 4G handsets will reach an estimated 90 million units in 2014 as main wireless carriers make strong marketing pushes to attract 4G customers, according to a report published Wednesday by IHS Technology.

The large 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.

The Chinese government awarded licenses for the country's three major state -owned telecom-service providers last December to run 4G mobile networks operating under the Time-Division Long-Term Evolution, or TD-LTE, standard developed by China.

But only 4.8 million of China Mobile's 784.6 million customers were using the new high-speed services as of the end of April, according to the carrier's website.

As for individual handset manufacturers, Samsung Electronics Co. might have the best chance to lead the 4G market, as the South Korean company held more than a 15-percent share of China's smartphone market in 2013 and remained the biggest player there, according to IHS data.

Taiwan's HTC Corp. saw its smartphone market share in China decline to 2.1 percent last year from 3.5 percent in 2012, falling to 12th place from ninth, the research firm said.

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