IDC: China's smartphone growth to soar in 2014, thanks in part to TD-LTE

Smartphone shipments in China are expected to grow by more than a quarter in 2014 compared to the expected shipments in 2013, according to research firm IDC. The research house thinks that growth will be driven by the launch of TD-LTE networks and Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) expected deal with China Mobile.

Smartphone shipments will jump to 450 million units in China next year up from an expected 360 million in 2013, IDC reported, according to ReutersChina is expected to ship 120 million TD-LTE-enabled smartphones to meet consumer demand, IDC said.

The smartphone market in China--the world's largest smartphone market--is dominated largely by South Korea's Samsung Electronics and Chinese firms Lenovo, Huawei, ZTE and Xiaomi. IDC expects smartphones running Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android operating system will continue to make up the majority of the smartphone market in China, but the firm also expects Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone operating system to gain share in China, according to the Wall Street Journal.

IDC said Apple's market share in China fell from 9 percent in the last quarter to 5 percent in the most recent quarter. Apple was the China's fifth largest smartphone maker and now it is the country's sixth largest. "Affected by the sluggish sales of iPhone 5, Apple's market share has declined dramatically, but its performance is expected to remarkably improve with the launch of the new iPhone," IDC analyst James Yan said in a statement.

IDC expects Apple's smartphone market share in China to double from this year to next year. China Unicom and China Telecom, the No. 2 and 3 operators in China, have started selling Apple's iPhone 5s and 5c, but Apple has yet to strike a deal with China Mobile.

China Mobile, which is steadily rolling out its TD-LTE network and plans to significantly ramp up deployment next year, has not yet struck a deal with Apple, though analysts expect one to be announced soon. China Mobile is the world's largest operator, with around 740 million customers.

For more:
- see this Reuters article
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)

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