The global smartphone market will attain 1.6 billion units by 2017; growth in emerging countries especially in China will fuel the growth for the overall market. Last year, emerging markets accounted for 35% share in the overall smartphone market. China represents the leading smartphone market with 66% of smartphones sold in the emerging market. It is also the fastest growing Smartphone market. Chinese smartphone manufacturers are focusing on developing more feature rich phones at affordable prices. Affordability of smartphones will shift choice of mobile phone consumers from feature phones to smartphones. In spite of implementing cheaper entry level smartphones at about USD 100, with uncommon operator subsidies, smartphone affordability remains a major issue in several emerging markets that affects the adoption of these phones in emerging countries.
The major platform and chipset vendors like Qualcomm and others have significant impact, affordability and availability, as they provide reference designs to their smartphone original equipment manufacturers and minimize risk at entry-level.
As much of the smartphone development is occurring in China, local brands from other emerging countries also adopt this affordable model. Countries like India and Indonesia also represent stronger growth in smartphone markets followed by Russia and Brazil. With an increasing smartphone market in emerging countries, many internet players will look to extend their offerings and leverage the opportunity.