Barclays Capital raises smartphone growth forecasts

Taipei, Nov. 20 (CNA) Barclays Capital has revised upward its smartphone shipment growth forecasts for 2011 and next year due to increasing sales of low-priced models in China. In a recent report, the UK-based investment bank raised its estimated year-on-year growth for smartphone shipments in 2011 to 65 percent from the original 49 percent, and to 43 percent from 35 percent in 2012. "Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. are the principal drivers of these growth expectations as we expect them to continue gaining market share in mid- to high-end smartphone models," analysts of Barclays Capital said in the report. Another driver is China's white-box and low-end brands, such as Lenovo Group Ltd., which is adopting low-cost solutions from Taiwan-based chip maker MediaTek Inc., the analysts said. "As white-box makers introduce more models, we expect the retail price of the sub-1,000 Chinese yuan (US$158/NT$4,752) Android 3G/WCDMA smartphone to fall to 800-1,000 yuan in 2012 and to 700-800 yuan in 2013, spurring demand and increasing sales," they said. The bank predicts that smartphone sales in China will increase from 58 million units in 2011 to between 220 million and 230 million units in 2015, with compound annual growth rate of 40 percent. From a stock perspective, Barclays Capital prefers Taiwanese brand HTC Corp. because of its anticipated share gains in mid-range smartphones. Its other top picks also include cell phone camera lens supplier Largan Precision Co., on increasing sales to Chinese vendors, and Hong Kong-listed Foxconn International Holdings Ltd., based on the turnaround in the business of one of its biggest customers, Nokia. (By Jeffrey Wu)