With Microsoft Mobile's announcement in July 2014 it will terminate its feature phone business within a year and a half, Samsung Electronics and China's white-box handset players have been aggressively competing for the market since the third quarter, and MediaTek and Spreadtrum are both expected to benefit from Microsoft's decision.
Digitimes Research estimates that Microsoft Mobile's monthly feature phone shipments in 2014 are around 10-15 million units.
Visiting China's white-box handset players and related component makers, Digitimes Research discovered that the white-box industry is shipping 35-40 million feature phones each month in the second half of 2014, and with Microsoft gradually reducing its feature phone scale, they are eagerly trying to take over demand left by the software giant.
Samsung, which has already shifted its focus to smartphones and tablets, originally planned to dramatically downsize its feature phone business in the first half, but has decided to increase its feature phone component orders to its upstream supply chain starting the third quarter after Microsoft's plans to quit from the feature phone industry. The growth bottleneck Samsung's smartphone business is currently encountering also prompted the vendor to take the opportunity.
Since Microsoft Mobile's feature phone chips are mainly supplied by non-Taiwan and non-China players, MediaTek and Spreadtrum, the two largest chip suppliers for white-box feature phones, are expected to benefit from the business opportunities created by Microsoft's exit, according to Digitimes Research's analysis. Spreadtrum is also a major chip supplier of Samsung's feature phones.
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