Are the days of the mobile phone gold rush in China over?

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China, the world's largest mobile phone market, has been seen for years by vendors as a place of seemingly unlimited demand for mobile technology. That time may be over.

According to data coming out of the China National Bureau of Statistics, the explosive growth in mobile phone users appears to be slowing. The monthly increase in mobile subscribers has slowed from close to 1 percent in May of last year to an anemic 0.2 percent in April of this year, according to the stats cited in a Quartz report.

The country's mobile subscribership is still growing, having reached 1.252 billion in April of this year, compared to 1.165 billion in May of last year.

Smartphones are expected to make up close to 90 percent of mobile phone shipments this year, so it's not just slow feature phone sales, the report notes.

This slowdown in growth is likely to impact domestic mobile phone brands as well as imports such as Samsung and Apple. Half of the top 10 mobile phone brands in China are domestic, according to China.org.

"A saturated Chinese mobile phone market affects not just handset makers like Samsung and Apple that are relying on emerging markets for growth, but also Chinese internet giants like Tencent, Alibaba and Baidu, which have been racing to establish their many apps and services with China's 1.25 billion mobile phone users," the Quartz report observes.

For more:
- check out the China.org stats
- read the Quartz report

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