Taiwan-made handsets score higher local market share

Dec 16, 2003 Ι Industry In-Focus Ι Electronics and Computers Ι By Ken, CENS
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Taipei, Dec. 16, 2003 (CENS)—Locally made handsets grasped over a quarter of the Taiwan market in October while Motorola and Nokia saw their combined share of the local market decline to around 40% from 70% in the month.

Next year, top three Taiwanese handset suppliers BenQ Corp., Inventec Corp. and DBTel Inc. will double spending to a combined NT$500 million-NT$1 billion (US$14.7 million-US$29.4 million at US$1:NT$34) on domestic sales promotion as part of their plans to gain more domestic market turf.

Taiwanese industry watchers analyze that local cell-phone suppliers have strategically made the island the base for developing Asian and world markets although the Taiwan market is not significant in size. They point out that the huge mainland Chinese cell-phone market has been now half dominated by the mainland's homegrown brands, suggesting a trend that the Taiwan market will follow.

They attributed the fast sales growth of the mainland's and Taiwan's homegrown brands in each domestic market to self-sufficient handset industry in both economies and localization character of the market.

Inventec executives pointed out that cashing in on the market proximity, their company could win local consumers easier than foreign rivals in home markets. The company has delivered 70,000 to 80,000 units of its OKWAP phones in each of the past few months, a big jump from only 3,000 to 5,000 phones one and a half years ago. Hefty sales have catapulted the company into top-five supplier list of the island's handset market for six months and even helped the company take the second place in October.

The aggressive BenQ will lure domestic consumers with color-screen phones embedded with digital cameras next year. In mid-2004, the company will roll out camera phones with image definition of at least one million pixels. Throughout next year, the company plans to ship 1.2 million phones in the home market to bring it a revenue totaling NT$5 billion (US$147 million). For this end, BenQ plans to sign up 150 stores to sell its phones by the end of next year, a huge increase from the 20-some stores it has contracted now.

DBTel said it will introduce domestic consumers a camera phone with 300,000-pixel definition, five-zoom options, flash light and horn by the end of this year. The company pledged to boost its shares of the Taiwan and mainland China markets in two years.

Globally, the top three Taiwanese handset suppliers plan to spend NT$1.5 billion to NT$2 billion (US$44 million to US$58 million) on brand promotions next year.
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