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Phone shipment growth beats expectations in Q1

TAIPEI--Worldwide shipments of smartphones showed better growth than expected in the first quarter of the year on demand from China and other emerging markets, according to a local market information advisory firm.

Smartphone shipments grew 1.13 percent during the January-March period from the previous quarter to 266.9 million, Trendforce wrote in a research note released Thursday, as Chinese phone makers increased production of 4G-capable models.

South Korean giant Samsung Electronics managed to claim first place with a worldwide market share of 34.9 percent, thanks to growing shipments of its low- to mid- ranged models, the Trendforce report said.

As Apple is not expected to launch its new flagship iPhone until the second half of the year, the company saw a noticeable decline to 13.6 percent share, leaving it in second place. China's Lenovo and Motorola took 7.5 percent and Huawei took 5.2 percent, while South Korea's LG took 4.4 percent over the period, the report said.

Chinese smartphone makers performed better than expected against traditionally stronger global brands, with several companies such as Huawei and Xiaomi seeing quarterly growth of over 20 percent, said Avril Wu, a researcher at Trendforce.

Another noteworthy company in the quarter was Coolpad, the first Chinese brand to enter the FDD-LTE 4G smartphone market, Wu said.

The company is expected to see rising quarterly shipments throughout 2014 that give it an upper hand in the global market amid the rapidly expanding 4G industry, she added.

Worldwide smartphone shipments could continue to benefit from increasing demand worldwide, the report said, predicting a 6.7 percent quarterly growth to 284.5 million units shipped in the second quarter.

Shipments from China are projected to exceed the industry average once again in the second quarter at a growth rate of 13.76 percent, it added.

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