HA NOI — Mobile phone imports in the first half of the year declined 23 per cent compared to the corresponding period last year. The country imported 6.26 million handsets in the first six months of 2012 worth US$304 million, a decline of 23.7 per cent in quantity and 7.5 per cent in value, according to the General Department of Customs.
Truong Dinh Anh, general director of FPT Group, a prominent importer and distributor of mobile phones in Viet Nam, attributed the poor sales to the severe economic downturn and reduced purchasing power.
Nation's top three brands in first quarter
1. Nokia: Nokia finished the first quarter of 2012 as the overall leader among mobile phone vendors, accounting for over half of all mobile phone sales. Nokia continues to be successful with its dual-SIM and low-cost phones such as the 101, C2-00, X1-01 and 1280, making it difficult for smaller vendors to be competitive.
2. Samsung: Although Samsung remains the leader in Viet Nam's smartphone market based on the strong performances from its low-cost smartphone range, including the Galaxy Y and Galaxy Mini, its total mobile phone shipments still lag far behind Nokia.
3. LG: LG held on to third place in despite a decline in shipments.
Source: IDC Vietnam
A recent survey by the Centre of Industry and Trade Information under the Ministry of Industry and Trade has also shown that purchases of mobile phones in the first half of the year were at their lowest level in the past three years.
Customs officials reported, however, that imports of smartphones with prices of over VND5 million each ($230) experienced a slight increase in the last three months. As many as 22,000 smartphones were imported monthly during the first quarter, jumping to 31,000 per month in the second quarter, partly on the strength of a 400-per-cent increase in sales growth during the period claimed by Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC.
A separate survey from international market researcher IDC also reflect the slowdown of the mobile market and the evacuation of some vendors from the segment in the first quarter.
"A number of local and Chinese vendors have exited the market, and we expect more to leave the market in 2012 as they struggle to recoup investments under current economic conditions," said Le Thanh Tam, senior market analyst for client devices research at IDC Viet Nam.
The smartphone market has also plummeted by 21 per cent as only a few Android phone vendors have continued to perform well.
"The Android platform has grabbed 79 per cent of the Viet Nam smartphone market and currently enjoys dominance," said Thanh. "Its popularity was boosted by a number of affordable products from various vendors and was helped by the marketing efforts of Samsung and HTC." — VNS