Samsung, China Handset Market Starting 2010 Strong, Says Report

Samsung is one handset company that seemingly benefited from the Chinese New Year and a strong start to the 2010 global handset market, according to a new report. Led by Asia and Latin America, the Year of the Tiger is predicted to be a good one for handsets, which should grow 11 percent over 2009 numbers.

The Year of the Tiger is already proving a successful one for the global mobile handset market in general and Taiwan-based Samsung in particular, according to analysis firm Broadpoint AmTech.
In a March 11 research note to investors, Broadpoint reported that 2010 is expected to continue the growth that the market unexpectedly saw in 2009, and that so far exceptional progress has been seen in the China market, likely as a result of the Chinese New Year, which in 2010 landed on the already shopping-friendly day of Feb. 14.
"Emerging markets in Asia and Latin America are areas of relative strength," stated analyst Mark McKechnie in the report. "We think sell-through from Chinese New Year has been even stronger than some expectations and that the China market could be up [approximately 10 to 15 percent quarter-over quarter]."
McKechnie also had encouraging words for Samsung, which in 2009 was the number-two market share holder. In the first quarter, Broadpoint expects Samsung to ship 63 million to 64 million units, which is up slightly from its previously prediction of 62 million to 63 million.
"We think Samsung has seen strength in emerging markets and relative softness in developed regions," wrote McKechnie. "The [average selling price] is expected to be flat to down very slightly quarter-over-quarter due to improved product positioning, and the company remains on track for double-digit operating margins, in-line with earlier expectations."
In a Jan. 29 report from Strategy Analytics - which showed Samsung's 2009 market share to have risen to 20.1 percent, up from 2008's 16.7 percent, as it shipped 69 million handsets during the fourth quarter - analyst Neil Mawston wrote that he expected Samsung to switch its focus in 2010 to Bada and Android smartphones.
A focus on Android would mimic the perceived 2010 strategy for number-three performer LG Electronics, also based in Taiwan, and which likely isn't taking Samsung's new year's fortune so well. LG has announced that it intends to grab a top-two market share position by 2012, which would mean ousting either Samsung or market leader Nokia. Though Nokia has slipped in recent quarters, it nonetheless shipped 126.9 million handsets in the fourth quarter of 2009, to LG's 33.9 million.
Again pointing to the China market, Broadpoint noted that Qualcomm is also faring well this quarter, showing "slightly better chip shipments, which we also suspect came from China."
Reporting that 329 million handsets units shipped during the fourth quarter of 2009, Broadpoint expects shipments for 2010 to start at 290 million in first quarter and climb to 302 million in the second quarter, 315 million in the third and finish the year with 362 million in the fourth quarter and an overall year-over-year growth of 11 percent.
"We believe handset shipments for the March quarter are tracking in-line with expectations," wrote McKechnie.