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Bargain smartphones forecast to become market force

Bargain smartphones forecast to become market force

Taipei, Nov. 5 (CNA) Local telecom operators are gearing up to woo customers by working with smartphone makers to launch bargain models, since consumption power is on the decline due to a slowing domestic economy, market sources said Saturday. Smartphone models with a price tag of less than NT$10,000 (US$333) are expected to drive sales in the overall smartphone market, which is still seeing growing demand, the sources said. Chunghwa Telecom Co., one of the country's top three telecom operators, is scheduled to team up with Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC Corp., to unveil a new low-priced model next week in an attempt to grasp a larger share of the local smartphone market. Since the second quarter of this year, Chunghwa Telecom has been stepping up its efforts to offer bargain models made by HTC, Samsung Electronics of South Korea and Huawei Technology of China. In August, Far EasTone Telecommunications Co. Ltd., another top telecom firm in Taiwan, partnered with Huawei Technology to launch Huawei IDEOS XI, a model that runs Google's Android 2.2 operating system. Far EasTone is offering the Huawei model at a price of less than NT$5,000, targeting young price-sensitive subscribers who want use phones to surf the Internet. Meanwhile, in September, Taiwan Mobile Co. introduced a self-branded smartphone, Fantastic T3, at half the cost of most other brand models but equipped with a 4.3 inch touch panel and rich in features. Lai Hsien-wu, a senior manager at Taiwan Mobile, said that while the high-end smartphone market in Taiwan is almost saturated, demand for mid- to low-end models is still on the rise. Lai said high-end smartphones currently account for 50 percent of Taiwan Mobile's total smartphone sales, while mid- to low-end products take the other half. However, mid- to low-end smartphones are expected to rise to 60- 70 percent of the company's total sales next year and become the mainstream in the smartphone market in the next couple of years, he said. Chen Chang-jung, deputy director of the mobile communications division at Chunghwa Telecom, said his company has been pushing bargain smartphones, priced below NT$10,000, in the second half of this year to catch up with the market trend. (By Lin Ye-fong and Frances Huang)


Updated : 2021-06-21 10:11 GMT+08:00