Brutal Smartphone Market Is Clobbering Former Stalwarts

By Adam Pasick

July 17, 2013

There was a time when NEC was the 500 lb. gorilla in Japan’s cellphone market with a 27% market share—then came smartphones. Faced with competition from the likes of Apple and Samsung, NEC’s share quickly shrunk to a measly 5%; after spending six months unsuccessfully trying to negotiate a partnership with China’s Lenovo, the company has decided to exit the smartphone business entirely, according to a report by the Nikkei newspaper.

Japan’s smartphone market is brutal, dominated by fickle mobile carriers and fad-chasing consumers. As in the rest of the world, it is also intensely competitive: In addition to Apple and Samsung, there are five homegrown firms—Sony, Fujitsu, Sharp, Panasonic, and Kyocera—who are vying for a spot in users’ pockets.

Still, Japan once had ten handset makers before the relentless economics of smartphones winnowed the crowd. And NEC (which will reportedly keep making non-smartphones for Japan’s elderly) won’t be the last firm to bow out. Who’s next? Well, JP Morgan analyst Alvin Kwock said in a note this week that Taiwan’s struggling smartphone vendor HTC may be forced to consider being acquired by the Chinese mobile telecommunications equipment maker Huawei to survive.

Read more at Quartz


By Adam Pasick

July 17, 2013

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