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Global Politico-Economic Risks Continue to Climb; Global Smartphone Production 2019 May Crash Below 1.4 Billion Units, Says TrendForce

According to TrendForce’s latest report, global smartphone demand has weakened even more than originally predicted due to the escalating global politico-economic risks, with global production volume feared to widen in decline from a previously forecast worst case scenario of 5% to 7%, landing at 1.4 billion units.

In TrendForce's predictions for global smartphone rankings by production volume 2019, the top six were, in descending order, Samsung, Huawei, Apple, OPPO, Xiaomi and Vivo. Yet in light of the stalled US-China trade talks and declining demand, we see Samsung keeping its throne, but Apple and Huawei pit against each other in a tug-o-war.

Judging from production volume for the whole year, Huawei's smartphone shipments are feared to become impacted by the ban: Its main markets consisted of Europe and South America in the past, but competitor Samsung also has a long history in these regional markets, and is predicted to emerge as the direct beneficiary from all this. Therefore, TrendForce adjusts its predictions for Samsung's total production volume upwards back to a level above 300 million units. There's a chance that the increase will arrive above 5%.

On the other hand, Apple is also feeling the effects of the trade war, suffering a blow to sales performance in Chinese markets: iPhone market shares in China are predicted to drop from the 7% originally projected to 5%, with this year's production volume adjusted down from 190 million units to 183 million.

Under stringent market conditions and in anticipation of a possible embargo by the US, Huawei had already accumulated inventories for this contingency and adjusted production plans accordingly. TrendForce predicts that Huawei will continue to benefit from demand in domestic, Chinese markets in the second half-year and soften the impact of markets abroad. Thus, TrendForce cuts its original forecast for total production made earlier this year.  

And while Xiaomi, OPPO and Vivo, themselves Chinese brands, will feel the fallout from Huawei's outspoken domestic presence, the three brands may however find consolation in the gains made in Southeast Asian and Indian markets and hope to trend flat in production volume this year compared to 2018.

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