Cell phone sales in China may fall 50% in the 1st quarter with coronavirus

The new coronavirus has already infected more than 5,900 people

Smartphone sales in China may fall by 50% in the first quarter of this year due to the outbreak of coronavirus, according to a report by industry analysts, many stores in the country have closed for an extended period and part of the production of cell phones has not yet fully resumed.

The disease has already killed more than 900 people and affected the China industry: the new virus should hinder the goals of Chinese smartphone manufacturers, such as Huawei, who were betting on the launch of the 5G network in China this year to help the country's cell phone market recover after years of falling sales.

Product launches from manufacturers that were planned will be canceled or delayed, as major public events are not allowed in China, research firm Canalys said in a note last week. Take time for suppliers to change their product launch plans in China, which is likely to reduce sales related to the 5G network.

Canalys expects smartphone sales in China to halve in the first quarter year-on-year, while IDC, another research firm that tracks the technology sector, predicts a 30% drop.

Research firm TrendForce reported on Monday, 10, that smartphone production decreased 12% globally in the quarter ending in March, reaching the lowest level in five years, at 275 million units.

Apple said last week that its stores in China will remain closed indefinitely and the company has yet to set opening dates. Foxconn, which makes iPhones for the North American company, said it was struggling to completely resume production at its factories.

Huawei, China's largest smartphone maker, said its production capacity was working normally, but the company did not provide further details. Like many other Chinese companies, Huawei relies heavily on other component manufacturers.

According to TrendForce forecast, iPhone production is expected to fall by 10%, to 41 million units, and Huawei production is expected to decrease 15%, to 42.5 million cell phones. Samsung is least affected by the coronavirus outbreak, as its main production base is in Vietnam, TrendForce said, reducing its production forecasts for the South Korean company by just 3% to 71.5 million units.

According to analysts, if factories are unable to resume production at full capacity on time, brands may have difficulty launching new products.