But with the dramatic decline of price, the penetration of smartphone is rapidly expanding. Maybe excluding some poor regions, other regions can afford a smartphone. It is reported that a smartphone watch is under development, and seems can replace smartphone.
Will handset market wither like a flower? Will smartphone step on the same road as PC? Can you image such picture of mobile phone being replaced by something new just as the Tablet PC superseding traditional PC? When it comes to these questions, anyone, whether inside or outside the industry, would shake his head, and say "no".
Indeed, undoubtedly, mobile devices, notably smartphoe and Tablet PC, are the "darling" of market. In 2012, almost all industries fell on downturn; especially the previous pride of semiconductor industry suffered the first decline of 6.4% since 2011, resulting in the entire semiconductor industry dropped by 2.7%. But smartphone and Tablet PC saw inverse growth, shoring up and alleviating the weakness of the semiconductor segment with an increase of 45% and 98%, reaching 796 million and 119 million units, respectively.
Given to the huge and brightening market prospect, more and more manufacturers including smartphone makers or related parts manufacturers flock into this segment. However, according to Mirae Asset Research, global mobile phone will come into the period of downturn after 2015 with the penetration rate of worldwide smartphone reaching 51%. Mirae Asset Research believes: driven by 3G/LTE and emerging markets such as China, India, Brazil and Russia, global handset will continue to increase. But with the increasingly serious homogenization for mobile phone as well as the dramatically falling of prices, global market will see large-scale occupancy for mobile phone, for instance, penetration rate of mobile phone in China will arrive at 105% by the end of 2014. In addition, the introduction of 5G service is in 2020, as such global mobile phone market will face a slowdown in development.
With the downturn of handset market in 2015, the main demand of mobile phone will rely on content and software, just as the PC market. Besides, the profit margin will further expand. As of 2012, Samsung and Apple, these two smartphone giants, took up almost 98% profits; and by 2015, their market shares will continue to increase, resulting in the fiercer competition.
I wonder, based on the above prediction, what will prompt the semiconductor market by 2015, if the smartphone segment, an emerging and strong driving force shows malaise? Will other smartphone-like devices lift another wave? 2013 has come, that is to say there is only two years or at most three years left. What will be the selling points, OLED display, bendable feature, larger size (exceeding 6-inch) or more intelligent characteristics?
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