Mobile World Congress Asia took place in Shanghai, China from June 27th to June 29th 2018. Analysts from Strategy Analytics’ Device team have attended the event.
The whole event has a strong focus on 5G technology. From device perspective, we expect to see multiple 5G-ready smartphone models available in China from Q3 2019 onward. During the event, Huawei and OPPO reconfirmed their plan to launch first 5G smartphones next year, while OnePlus also announced their ambition in 5G sector.
We at Strategy Analytics view 5G models will be the fastest-growing sector in global smartphone market for the next decade. But in the early stage, 5G smartphones are going to be expensive, due to technical complexity, high IPR fees, and profit skimming by device makers and carriers. Hence, their volume contribution to the aforementioned vendors is likely to be low in 2019. We expect the category will emerge in 2019, but take off in 2020 onwards.
In this year’s show, smartphone vendors are quite silent. Only Huawei, vivo, and HTC participated in the exhibition. Among them, vivo is the most eye-catching one. The Chinese vendor demoed its TOF-based 3D sensing technology and showcased its newly launched NEX model. Since the beginning of this year when the vendor introduced the world first smartphone with in-display fingerprint sensor, vivo has shifted its focus from heavy marketing to product innovation. We believe the shift is a good move which will help the vendor to lift up its brand image in the industry and in consumer’s mind. Then the next question for vivo is how to monetize its investment in technology.