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Saturation hits mobile phone sales

China's mobile phone sales fell 27.1 percent last year as the market became saturated after several years of rapid growth.

China’s mobile phone sales fell 27.1 percent last year as the market became saturated after several years of rapid growth.

In 2017, China’s mobile phone sales totaled 491 million units, down 27.1 percent from a year earlier. The number of newly released models also fell 12.3 percent from a year ago to 1,054, according to the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, a research arm of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

In December alone, China’s mobile phone sales tumbled 32.5 percent year on year, signaling a more sluggish market, said CAICT.

On Tuesday, ZTE, China’s biggest listed telecom equipment maker, became the first major Chinese smartphone vendor to release a foldable dual-screen smartphone, Axon M, which will be available from Saturday at a starting price of 3,888 yuan (US$600).

It’s time to bring consumers “tech-savvy” products to create a new market space when the whole market is close to saturation, said Cheng Lixin, chief executive of ZTE’s mobile devices.

Smaller Chinese smartphone vendors, including 360 and Meizu, have also unveiled high-end and innovative products and planned to expand overseas to seek opportunities amid the “tough” domestic market environment.

Xiaomi, which is reported to launch an initial public offering this year, aims to double overseas revenue in 2018 by expanding in India and Europe. It’s also “seriously preparing” to enter the US market, Xiaomi Chairman Lei Jun said last month.


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