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5G smartphone penetration hits 70 percent in China

Zhu Shenshen
Wide variety of 5G models, particularly cheaper types, pushed up sales in September by 8.1 percent.
Zhu Shenshen

Over 70 percent of new smartphones in China are 5G models thanks to wide network coverage and a richer variety of models, especially more affordable types, industry officials said.

In September, China's smartphone sales reached 21.4 million units, a decrease of 8.1 percent from a year ago. But 5G sales have jumped 8.1 percent to hit 15.1 million units, accounting for 70.5 percent of total sales, according to researcher CAICT.

CAICT, or the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, is a national research center under the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

China Mobile, the world's biggest mobile carrier, reported having 956 million mobile users by September, of which 331 million were 5G package users. In the third quarter, China Mobile added 10.2 million new users, most of them for 5G, the carrier said on Thursday.

Firms like Apple, Samsung, Oppo and Vivo are kicking off flagship 5G models in China.

Meanwhile, 5G models costing less than 1,500 yuan (US$234) have been attracting more users as a lower entry threshold to the 5G network.

Startup brand Realme launched two 5G models recently, with a starting price of 1,399 yuan and featuring Snapdragon processor, game optimization and big capacity battery.

With such affordable models, Realme expects to sell over 10 million smartphones in China by November, achieving its annual target early, said Xu Qi, its vice president.

Firms like Xiaomi, Oppo and Realme have all launched affordable models and subsidies in advance of November, China's online shopping festival month.

The campaigns will continue boosting 5G model sales in China in 2021, analysts said.

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