Smartphone shipments' 17% rise shows electronics rebound

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Smartphone shipments in China rose by 17.2 percent in April on a yearly basis, the first such expansion in the past four months, indicating a strong rebound in consumers' enthusiasm for electronic products, a new report said.

Data from government think tank China Academy of Information and Communications Technology showed that 40.8 million smartphones were shipped from factories to retailers in April, with 32 new models being launched.

Shipments of 5G smartphones stood at 16.38 million units, a 164-percent growth on a monthly basis, and accounted for 39.3 percent of the total shipments, the report said.

The strong performance came as strong consumer demand for cutting-edge devices prompted retailers to shore up stocks.

Fang Jing, chief electronics analyst at Cinda Securities, said most of the factories in China were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic during the first quarter of this year. As they started to scale up production capacity, retailers started booking more smartphones in anticipation of the resurgence in consumer demand, he said.

With the outbreak still rampant in many overseas countries, Chinese smartphone firms like Huawei, Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo are now focusing more on the domestic market, thereby intensifying competition.

In April, 22 new 5G smartphone models were launched in China, according to CAICT.

Data from Fenqile, China's first installment-payment e-commerce platform under Nasdaq-listed LexinFintech, also indicate a demand revival. In April, sales of iPhones increased 20 percent on a monthly basis on the platform, which serves mostly Generation Z consumers (those born in the past 25 years).

"The short-term effect from the pandemic won't change the long-term consumption momentum of young Chinese consumers, who are the dominant force of China's consumer market, and are known for their fondness of trendy products such as new smartphones," a Fenqile spokesperson said.

"We expect smartphone sales to rise in the subsequent months and the rest of the year, especially with the potential rollout of multiple 5G smartphones from renowned brands," the spokesperson said.

In a 5G smartphone promotion on Fenqile on April 17, the daily sales of 5G smartphones increased by 184 percent compared with single-day sales in the past. On the promotion day, total smartphone sales on the platform rose by 335 percent driven largely by the rising popularity of 5G smartphones.

A recent national online survey conducted by Fenqile also found that 5G smartphones and Apple products are among the most popular in the past few months among young Chinese consumers.

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