China set to be first smartphone market to recover from coronavirus hit

China appears to be on track to be the first country to recover from the coronavirus outbreak, and a new report today suggests that its smartphone market may likewise be the first to pick up.

Earnings reports, share prices, and analyst reports all give cause for optimism, suggests the piece …

Reuters makes the case.

Smartphone sales in China are rising again as COVID-19 cases there decline and global demand for chips used in work-from-home networks is surging, positioning Asian tech firms for a slow but steady recovery, their early quarterly report cards showed […]

“Within Asia, developing signs of industry returning to work tell us that production in China will be the first part of the economy to lift off,” Stephen Innes, global chief market strategist at forex trader Axicorp, said in a note.

Shares in Samsung, also a maker of smartphones and TVs, rose 2% on Tuesday. Foxconn stock rose 1.4%.

LG Electronics shares jumped nearly 7% after the South Korean TV and phonemaker said operating profit likely soared 21% in the March quarter.

Not all of it can be attributed to smartphone demand, however. Samsung, in particular, is benefiting more from data center chip sales.

As work from home has surged, boosting demand for cloud services, so has the requirement for memory chips. This has allowed chipmakers such as Samsung to lower their high stockpile that squeezed prices for many quarters.

“The memory chip market is on the verge of a rebound … especially the server DRAM memory chip market is rebounding faster than expected following a downturn as data center customers are buying up memory chips to build up their infrastructures,” said Song Myeong-sup, an analyst at HI Investment & Securities.

But with stores in China reopening – including all Apple Stores in the country – and more 5G phones on the way, there is said to be a feeling of optimism among companies there that the Chinese smartphone market may be the first to recover from coronavirus-induced falls in both production and sales.

Not everyone takes China’s reported coronavirus case numbers at face value, however. There are concerns that the government is exaggerating the drop in cases in order to justify resuming full-scale production.

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Ben Lovejoy

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