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Aden - Yasmine El Tohamy - The mobile device market presents a very interesting scenario. As far as growth expectations are concerned, different dynamics work in different markets. The global mobile market was forecasted to grow a little in 2019 but has been flat compared to 2018. If we talk about the fourth quarter of 2019, worldwide smartphone shipments grew 2 per cent year-on-year, reaching 401.1 million units. The Middle East and Africa grew the highest (14 per cent), followed by India (12 per cent), with China declining 10 per cent in the same period.
Due to coronavirus and the global economic scenario, however, there will be a slowdown in the growth of the mobile market in 2020.
Unfortunately, the coronavirus spread is not limited to China alone; it is, as of this writing, affecting 125 countries and territories across the globe. In fact, this has already become a pandemic as declared by the World Health Organization. Due to travel bans and limited accessibility, the movements of goods are affected and this has already impacted the business worldwide. Major global events have been cancelled such as the Mobile World Congress.
China is the single-largest exporter of mobile phones and other related products to the world so, definitely, supply is affected everywhere and the Middle East is no exception. Many companies have yet to restart their operations and factories are more affected due to a shortage of not only labour but also limited supply of components. So when there is a gap between demand and supply, there will definitely be an impact on prices. Component prices have already gone up by 30-50 per cent, so prices of new launches will definitely increase.
However, I do not see an immediate increase of any price of our existing range. In my opinion, the price oscillation would be more for global brands due to the supply-and-demand gap. The uncertainty of production cycles is another challenge because if any key component is not available, this will result in delays in production. The real impact is yet to be seen or ascertained.
5G, meanwhile, is the new trend and many global brands have already launched 5G devices but the price gap is huge and acceptability is less. The actual 5G adoption will be seen in the second half of this year.
The customer is core to our go-to-market strategy. XTouch has been doing business in all GCC markets such as the UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. Our products are available across major retail channels and other hypermarkets and independent retails. Recently, we have added new products across categories and keep our customers informed of any new launch through our digital and offline channels.
We value our customers substantially and even our product portfolio is decided based on the feedback from the market. We strive to provide quality devices at affordable prices with a mission to become a regional force to reckon with.
And as one of the very first brands out of Dubai that started catering to the GCC and Middle East, it has become apparent that serving the local market is critical for our growth strategy.
The writer is vice-president at XTouch. Views expressed are his own and do not reflect the newspaper's policy.
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