Vendors switch to mobile repairs

Date:2015-06-05 23:06:16    Point:1007

Vendors switch to mobile repairs

Smartphone retailers may be feeling a chill despite China's sweltering heat as sales for devicesmade by Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics Co are heading on a downward slide.

Industry insiders have warned independent handset dealers to find a new cash cow.

Chen Jun owns a booth at Top Electronics City in Zhongguancun, the largest smartphonemarketplace in Beijing. The 43-year-old has started stocking mobile phone accessories in orderto sell "something more lucrative than smartphones".

"The iPhone sales declined a few months ago, and I feel the Samsung devices may face asimilar downturn soon," Chen said inside his 4-square-meter booth. He gestured toward theshopping mall. "Take a look around. Nobody relies on selling only Samsung and Apple productsanymore."

Samsung is the biggest maker of smartphones sold through retail channels in China. More than40 percent of its 10 million devices sold in the second quarter came from retailers such as Chen,according to research firm Gfk Retail and Technology China Co Ltd. Apple's retail outlets alsosold nearly half of its total shipments in the country.

Retailers blamed Apple's once-a-year product introduction strategy for declining high-enddevices sales.

Simon Jin, an account manager at Gfk, said he believes Apple sales have dropped due to thelengthy period after the company released the iPhone 5S. He added that the one-year gapcaused sales to decline in many places.

"Chinese customers are losing their enthusiasm for iPhones and Samsung's flagship products,"Jin said.

Less than a month before Apple is set to release its next-generation smartphone, Chineseretailers are finding it hard to clinch a preorder.

Some vendors in Zhongguancun set the preorder price at 10,000 yuan ($1,620), which mostlikely will be thousands of yuan above the official price.

The preorders they got were next to zero.

"Apple and Samsung are more dependent on retail channels than their local competitors, whoenjoy above 10 million quarterly shipments," said Jin.

Chinese brands with the highest shipments mainly rely on orders from telecom carriers. Contractphone sales for ZTE Corp, Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and Guangdong-based low-end vendorYulong Computer Telecommunication Scientific Co Ltd took more than 70 percent of thecompanies' total shipments, according to Jin.

"Lack of product innovation dragged down Samsung's market share in China," said Xu Hao, aresearcher at Beijing-based consultancy Analysys International. "Apple could only protect its sixthposition by expanding its 4G device sales."