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The Smart Connected Device Market Outlook for China

During 2014, China will remain one of the leading high-growth markets for digital technology. The Chinese Smart Connected Device (SCD) market grew by 45 percent in the third quarter of 2013, according to the latest market study by IDC.

However, segment growth was mixed. The market growth rate of smartphones was 64 percent, media tablets were at 77 percent -- but, in contrast, PCs declined by -12 percent.

IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Smart Connected Device Tracker provides an integrated view of three important digital technology markets: Personal computers (notebooks and desktops), smartphones, and media tablets. According to the IDC study findings, overall 2013 saw fast growth for the SCD market in China.

"2013 was a game changing year. The consumer SCD install base reached 780 million at the end of 2013, tripling the number of two years ago," said Kitty Fok, managing director at IDC China.

In the future, the China SCD market is going to move from an explosive growth phase into a more matured development phase. But the changes on product, market, application and technology will not slow down.

IDC also predicts that by the end of 2017, the total consumer SCD install base will reach 1.2 billion, while that of all SCD will reach 1.4 billion units.

IDC's Predictions and Online Poll Results are as follows:

  • The Chinese SCD market will grow by 17 percent and the PC market will start to recover with the annual growth rate of -1.4 percent during 2014. (online poll support: 92 percent).
  • A total of 130 million 4G smartphones will be shipped out to the market in 2014. (online poll support: 61 percent).
  • The ecosystem of domestic IT vendors will continue to improve. (online poll support: 89 percent).
  • The Chinese rural market will see the penetrated deployment of smart connected devices in 2014. (online poll support: 85 percent).
  • Device screens will increase in size as a whole. (online poll support: 94 percent).
  • The percentage of tablets with call function will account for 35 percent of the total tablet shipment. (online poll support: 67 percent).
  • The percentage of smartphones embedded with near-field communication (NFC) technology will account for 15 percent of the total shipment. (online poll support: 77 percent).
  • The battle to seize the living room device market will get started. (online poll support: 89 percent).
  • The tier 1-3 markets will experience growing consumption and tier 4-6 markets will see dropping prices. (online poll support: 96 percent).
  • Channel inventory will be reduced to a reasonable level during the third and fourth quarters of 2014; the percentage of online channel and telecom operator's package bundle will continue to increase. (online poll support: 95 percent).

As for channel development in China, it's expected that more traditional channels will launch their own online selling platforms and thus the online and offline channels will be integrated. The telecom operators are now increasing their sales targets on bundling sales, thereby increasing their influence.

After seeing fast growth of the smart connected devices and aggressive sales targets set by the manufacturers, the channel's excess inventory in 2013 became a problem. The inventories of PC, smartphone and tablet have already reached unreasonable levels.

According to IDC's assessment, it will take around two to three quarters in 2014 before pressure is discharged from the smart connected device channel's excess inventory challenges.

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