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Chinas First-Quarter Smartphone Sales May Halve Due to Coronavirus: Analysts

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SHANGHAI—Chinas smartphone sales may plunge by as much as 50 percent in the first quarter, as many retail shops have closed for an extended period and production has yet to fully resume due to the fast spread of a new coronavirus, according to research reports.

The virus outbreak, which has roiled Chinas manufacturing industry, comes as top smartphone vendors such as Huawei had hoped Chinas 5G rollout plans this year would help the worlds biggest smartphone market rebound after years of falling sales.

“Vendors planned product launches will be canceled or delayed, given that large public events are not allowed in China,” research firm Canalys said in a note last week.

“It will take time for vendors to change their product launch roadmaps in China, which is likely to dampen 5G shipments.”

Canalys expects Chinas smartphone shipments to halve in the first quarter from a year ago, while IDC, another research firm that tracks the tech sector, forecasts a 30 percent drop.

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Apple Inc. said last week it is extending its retail store closures in China and has yet to finalize opening dates, as Foxconn, which assembles iPhones, struggles to fully resume work.

Foxconn received government approval on Feb. 10 to resume production at a plant in the city of Zhenghzou, and reopened a major plant in the southern city of Shenzhen. But many others of its factories have yet to resume operation.

Huawei, Chinas biggest smartphone vendor, said its manufacturing capacity is “running normally” without specifying further. But like many other local peers, Huawei relies heavily on third-party manufacturers for production.

If factories cannot resume production to full capacity on time, this could delay brands ability to bring their newest products to market, analysts saidRead More – Source