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China’s first-quarter smartphone sales may halve due to coronavirus: analysts – Source Reuters Tech News

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China’s smartphone sales may plunge by as much as 50% in the first quarter, as many retail shops have closed for an extended period and production has yet to fully resume due to the fast spread of a new coronavirus, according to research reports.

The virus outbreak, which has killed more than 900 people and roiled China’s manufacturing industry, comes as top smartphone vendors such as Huawei had hoped China’s 5G rollout plans this year would help the world’s biggest smartphone market rebound after years of falling sales.

“Vendors’ planned product launches will be canceled or delayed, given that large public events are not allowed in China,” research firm Canalys said in a note last week.

“It will take time for vendors to change their product launch roadmaps in China, which is likely to dampen 5G shipments.”

Canalys expects China’s smartphone shipments to halve in the first quarter from a year ago, while IDC, another research firm that tracks…

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