Taipei, Jan. 26 (CNA) Smartphone sales in Taiwan fell almost 10 percent in 2018 from a year earlier in part because of disappointing sales of the latest iPhones that were unveiled in September, according to industry sources.
Price competition among major telecom operators in Taiwan, resulting in deep cuts in monthly subscription fees, led many consumers to extend their contracts by retaining their phones instead of buying new ones, also affecting smartphone sales, the sources said.
In the first half of the year, Chunghwa Telecom Co., one of Taiwan’s leading telecom service providers, launched a NT$499 (US$16.20) 4G monthly subscription package for unlimited internet access.
The lowest-ever monthly subscription plan was later dubbed the “499 chaos” because it caught the market off guard, triggering a price war in the telecom services industry.
The sources said smartphone sales fell 9.84 percent from a year earlier to 6.6 million units, or less than 600,000 units a month, and a monthly sales average not seen in more than a decade.
The sources said that after the decline in 2018, several telecom operators have launched promotional campaigns by offering discounts on smartphone purchases to stimulate sales in 2019.
But the weakness is expected to continue because the smartphone market has become saturated, and the sources expected the figure for 2019 will range between 6.3 million and 6.5 million units.
In December alone, despite the lower than expected sales of new iPhones, Apple Inc. remained the top brand in terms of sales volume in Taiwan with a 28.3 market share, ahead of South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co. (18.8 percent), Taiwan-based Asustek Computer Inc. (9.7 percent), China’s Oppo (9 percent) and Japan’s Sony Corp. (6.5 percent).
China’s Huawei Technologies Co. came in sixth with a 5.3 percent share, followed by Taiwan’s HTC Corp. (4.8 percent), Xiaomi of China (4.1 percent), Finland’s Nokia (2.9 percent) and French brand Sugar (2.1 percent).
In terms of sales value, Apple took a 62.4 percent market share in December, followed by Samsung with a 12.2 percent share, ahead of OPPO (5.3 percent), Sony (4.7 percent), Asustek (4.0 percent), Huawei (3.7 percent), HTC (2.3 percent), Xiaomi (2.1 percent), Nokia (1.5 percent) and China’s Vivo (0.5 percent), the sources said.
By model, the iPhone XR 128GB was the top selling model in December, ahead of Samsung’s Galaxy A7, the iPhone XS 64GB, the iPhone XS Max 256GB, the OPPO AX5, the iPhone XS 256GB, the OPPO R17, the Galaxy J4, Asustek’s ZenFone Live L1 and Galaxy Note 9, the sources said.
(By Jiang Ming-yan and Frances Huang)