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Podcast #64: 2023 China Smartphone Outlook – Reading Between the Top Lines (Mandarin Edition)

As China is opening its borders and quickly getting back to business after over three years of COVID-19 lockdowns and other curbs, we recently conducted an offline customer-sharing meeting in Shenzhen. It was great to see everyone after a long time and share our insights. The developing trends and China’s premium smartphone market outlook were the most discussed topics.

The country’s smartphone market has become quite saturated. While Chinese OEMs are releasing models with newer technologies, the consumer demand for smartphone upgrades is not as strong as before. Moreover, macroeconomics is another important factor affecting consumers’ purchasing power and confidence. With such a scenario, OEMs are shifting their focus to premium devices to increase their ASPs (average selling prices).

In the latest Mandarin episode of The Counterpoint Podcast, host Rick Cui is joined by Research Analysts Archie Zhang and Shenghao Bai. In this podcast, we touch upon several topics, such as Counterpoint’s prediction for the Chinese smartphone market in 2023, the growing interest of OEMs in releasing foldable smartphones, and more. We also talk about how smartphone makers are focusing on self-developed chips and artificial intelligence (AI) among other areas of differentiation.

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 You can read the Chinese transcript here and the English transcript here.

Podcast Chapter Markers

01:14: Archie on Counterpoint’s prediction for China’s smartphone market.

02:49: Shenghao on the China smartphone outlook for 2023.

06:24: Archie on the rising ASPs and why OEMs are focusing on premium devices.

08:32: Archie further talks about OEMs’ growing interest in foldable smartphones.

10:40: Shenghao on Counterpoint’s China and global forecasts for foldable smartphones for 2023.

12:16: Archie weighs in on the current innovations in folding smartphones and the room for improvement in the coming generations.

16:35: Shenghao highlights some future development trends for foldable smartphones.

19:42: Almost all flagship smartphones focus big on imaging, but are there other areas for differentiation for OEMs? Shenghao answers.

22:00: Lastly, Archie also shares some insights on self-developed chips, AI, and other developments that smartphone OEMs are focusing on.

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Podcast #63 – Key Takeaways from MWC 2023 (Special Korean Edition)

This year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona proved to be a great success. At the event, which was held in earnest for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies introduced new products and technologies. With nearly 90,000 visitors, the event managed to regain its former vigor, excitement, and buzz.

Networks and operators actively participated in MWC 2023 and introduced new technologies and solutions. The event also revealed industry players’ aspirations to take the lead in 5.5G and 6G, and the telecommunication companies’ concerns about monetization.

Another noteworthy point was the remarkable presence of Chinese companies. In particular, Chinese companies including Huawei, HONOR, OPPO, and TECNO introduced foldable smartphones, showing that the foldable market, which was formed with Samsung at the forefront, is blooming in earnest.

In the latest episode of ‘The Counterpoint Podcast’, Counterpoint’s Research Director Tom Kang and Associate Director Sujeong Lim, who participated in the event, discuss their takeaways from MWC 2023.

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Podcast chapter markers

1:22 – MWC atmosphere

2:33 – Hot topics at the event

4:55 – Foldable market forecast. When will Apple enter the foldable market?

6:16 – New technologies – eSIM, satellite communication

8:12 – Smartphone technologies – Foldable smartphone push, Xiaomi low-light camera

10:53 – How to enjoy the event?

13:19 – Other global exhibitions worth attending

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Podcast #62 – Closing the Loop on E-waste Management

An increasing number of smartphone OEMs are now approaching sustainability by removing plastic from packaging, using more recycled materials, and making the devices more repairable. But have you ever wondered what happens to these devices once they reach the end of their useful life?

We now live in a circular economy where the focus is on reducing waste by repairing and reusing smartphones and components. As we celebrate Global Recycling Day today (March 18), let us discuss e-waste management. Companies like Closing the Loop offer an e-waste recycling service called waste compensation. The approach is simple – for every new device added to the market, you collect one end-of-life device which is then properly recycled.

In the latest episode of ‘The Counterpoint Podcast’, host Jan Stryjak is joined by Andrea Scholz, Senior Sustainability Manager in the Consumer Business Unit at Vodafone Germany, and Joost de Kluijver, Founder and Director at Closing the Loop, to discuss how Vodafone Germany and Closing the Loop are working together on a one-for-one program, e-waste management and much more.

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You can read the podcast transcript here.

Podcast chapter markers

01:30: Andrea and Joost share their thoughts on the increasing demand for the smartphone industry to become more sustainable.

02:23: Joost on how Closing the Loop is approaching smartphone circularity, and also outlines a service called waste compensation.

04:32: Andrea talks about Vodafone Germany and Closing the Loop’s one-for-one program.

06:04: Andrea talks about why it is important for operators to get more involved in smartphone circularity initiatives.

07:17: Joost on why Closing the Loop specifically partnered with an operator and specifically Vodafone Germany.

08:55: Andrea on different initiatives of Vodafone Germany to make the smartphone industry more sustainable.

10:19: Joost talks about the barriers to the wider adoption of the circular economy.

12:50: Closing remarks from Andrea and Joost on what more the industry, specifically vendors, operators and distributors, needs to do to support circularity.

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Podcast #61 – CloudSIM™ to Catalyze Growing Need for On-demand Connectivity

The eSIM has been around for a while now, and thanks to Apple it is now going mainstream. But when it comes to the IoT domain, there are several bottlenecks with respect to deployment, connectivity and migration. A few months ago, we spoke about SIM shortages and eSIM migration with Olivier Leroux from Oasis Smart-SIM. Now we have Olivier back on the show to discuss a new solution called CloudSIM™.

CloudSIM™ is a remote hardware SIM which is stored in a dedicated, secure, and GSMA-certified environment. It is primarily aimed at use cases that do not require permanent connectivity. It is also scalable, interoperable and easy to deploy.

In the latest episode of ‘The Counterpoint Podcast’, host Neil Shah is joined by Olivier Leroux, President and Founder of Oasis Smart-SIM, to talk about the new architecture called CloudSIM™. The discussion covers eSIM bottlenecks from the architecture point of view and how CloudSIM™ will meet those challenges, the solution’s use cases, how it complements eSIM, and much more.

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You can read the podcast transcript here.

Podcast Chapter Markers:

2:20 – Olivier talks about the challenges faced by the eSIM industry.

5:11 – Olivier on CloudSIM™ solution and how it will address some of the existing challenges.

6:46 – Is it an alternative or complementary technology to eSIM? Olivier weighs in.

8:23 – Olivier talks about the use cases where it perfectly complements.

14:00 – Can CloudSIM™ become a standardized technology? Olivier answers.

15:35 – Olivier on scalability and interoperability of the solution.

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BONUS:: WATCH: Oasis Smart-SIM Demonstrates new CloudSIM™ Solution

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Podcast #60: Key Macro Risks For Tech Industry in 2023

The macro-environment saw a rollercoaster ride in 2022, one where our Counterpoint Macro Index dropped from 106.17 to 82.88 between January and November. Several factors contributed to the decline, such as the war in Ukraine, high inflation, the possibility of a global economic recession, and China’s strict COVID-Zero policies.

Besides, interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve not only slowed economic growth but also strengthened the US dollar, the effects of which were particularly painful in emerging markets. Technology firms that were previously thriving had to resort to mass layoffs, spending cuts and downward earnings guidance in preparation for a bleak economic outlook.

Moving into 2023, which of those macro risks will remain, and which new risks should the tech firms watch out for? Counterpoint Research analysts have voted on the top 10 macro risks that companies should pay close attention to.

In the latest episode of The Counterpoint Podcast, host Matt Orf is joined by Senior Analyst Yang Wang, based in Europe, and Research Analyst Archie Zhang, based in China. We bring on-the-ground and unique insights into the macro risks that cannot be ignored. The topics discussed in the podcast range from economic issues such as energy crisis and a potential global economic recession to geopolitical and political issues such as the US-China showdown and developments in US domestic politics.

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You can read the podcast transcript here.

Podcast Chapter Markers

3:09 – Yang on factors contributing to an economic downturn in 2023, and the potential impact.

5:40 – Yang further talks about the economic downturn and how it will affect the technology world.

8:17 – Matt on the energy situation and the pressure points.

15:11 – Matt on some background and indication of the direction American policy might take in 2023.

19:09 – Archie on the US-China trade relationship.

22:54 – Archie further deep-dives with more details on China’s COVID-19 situation.

26:49 – Yang on emerging markets and problems they are more likely to face in the coming year.

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Podcast #59 – Connecting the Unconnected!

When we formed Counterpoint a decade ago, our passion and mission were to provide the best, in-depth insights, data, and advisory services for the technology industry. We considered mobile connectivity and devices to be pivotal to the massive digital transformation underway. We wanted to help companies make better and more informed decisions to enable them to offer the best experiences to billions of users.

As we celebrate our 10th anniversary and reflect on engagements with hundreds of companies from among the largest to start-ups, we believe we should also play our part in giving back to society by helping to connect those who are not yet connected to the internet and to help them transform their lives.

Our analysts are in a great position to utilize our diverse geographic footprint, knowledge, and excellent networks to create awareness, influence the industry, and volunteer to support underserved populations, such as children, women, and the displaced or otherwise overlooked communities, in getting internet connectivity. Data connectivity can unlock access to education, employment, healthcare, real-time communication, financial services, and more.

As a first step towards this goal, we are excited to partner with Unconnected.org, a UK-based non-profit founded in 2019 by tech industry veterans with a vision and goal to connect an additional 100 million people to the internet. We aim to closely work with Unconnected.org and NGOs on different projects around the world to spread awareness, volunteer, and attract donors.

In the latest episode of ‘The Counterpoint Podcast’, host Jan Stryjak is joined by our VP of Research, Neil Shah, and Unconnected.org Chief Commercial Officer Mea Thompson. The discussion throws some light on why this is important, what Unconnected is doing, and how our partnership can help connect the unconnected!

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You can read the podcast transcript here.

Podcast Chapter Markers

01:07 – Mea talks about Unconnected.org and how it is supporting digital literacy training.

02:08 – Mea on whether there is a two-tiered society and economy, while also quantifying the problem.

04:49 – Mea on why companies should be focusing on CSR activities.

06:00 – Neil shares his thoughts on bridging the digital divide.

07:25 – Mea on how mobile operators and device manufacturers can make a direct impact.

09:33 – Mea on how to measure the actual impact of the initiatives when companies get involved.

11:09 – Neil talks about Counterpoint’s partnership with Unconnected.org and helping connect the unconnected.

15:07 – Mea on how organizations can get involved and help.

17:51 – Closing thoughts from Mea & Neil on the partnership to work together and influence the industry.

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Podcast #58 – Component Shortage: Will it drive the eSIM migration?

The COVID-19-led semiconductor shortage disrupted the supply chains of several industries. The shortage also accelerated lead times for key components such as chipsets, DDIs & PMICs that power all electronics around us. While the auto sector was heavily affected, telecom operators were also struck due to the lack of physical SIM cards as SIM plants shifted their production to higher-value technologies.

With no significant CapEx investment in mature nodes, SIM shortage means telcos cannot activate new subscriptions, potentially losing customers and market share. And while mobile network operators have been resistant to moving to eSIM, the eSIM is still gathering pace. Premium flagship smartphones from Samsung and Apple come with one physical SIM slot and one eSIM. Even the latest iPhone 14 series in the US ditches the physical SIM slot altogether and comes with eSIM-only capabilities.

With component shortages expected to continue until 2023, how do the mobile network operators reorganize their supply chain and forecast SIM needs in advance? We discuss all this and more in the podcast.

In the latest episode of ‘The Counterpoint Podcast’, host Peter Richardson is joined by Counterpoint’s Senior Analyst William Li, and Olivier Leroux, President and Founder of Oasis Smart-SIM to talk about how the telecom industry is dealing with disruptions due to semiconductor shortage. We also discuss the real impact of SIM shortage and the development of eSIM to mitigate some of these issues.

The podcast discussion is based on a recent joint white paper that Counterpoint Research wrote together with Oasis Smart SIM. You can download it from here.

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You can read the podcast transcript here.

Podcast Chapter Markers

01:33 – Olivier on Oasis Smart-SIM’s history and what the company does.

02:33 – William talks about chip shortages and how it has been affecting different sectors and industries.

05:37 – Olivier on how chip shortages continue to impact the telecom provider situation.

08:53 – Olivier talks about how SIM cards being made on mature nodes instead of leading nodes is forcing the SIM industry to re-adjust

11:54 – Olivier further discusses the real impact of SIM shortage on telecom operators.

13:29 – Olivier on whether components shortage is accelerating the move to eSIM?

15:57 – William on how geopolitical tensions have been impacting the chip shortage further.

18:32 – William talks about CapEx investment in legacy nodes vs matured nodes.

21:27 – Olivier on supply of physical SIM and development of eSIM market to mitigate some of the issues.

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Podcast #57 – Will 5G Offset Macroeconomic Weakness in SEA Smartphone Market?

Southeast Asia, one of the world’s most promising markets, saw its smartphone shipments decline in Q2 2022. But despite this, Thailand’s premium smartphone market grew 22% YoY, confirming a key trend in the overall Southeast Asian market. Other key trends in the region include the growth of gaming and 5G smartphones.

Rising inflation and reduced consumer spending are resulting in a lengthening smartphone replacement cycle. So, how are OEMs navigating this trend with different financial schemes, easy upgrades, cashbacks and more? 5G smartphone shipments in Southeast Asia markets are also growing, so how are operators geared up for rolling out 5G services and demonstrating their use cases?

In the latest episode of ‘The Counterpoint Podcast’, host Tarun Pathak is joined by Senior Analysts Febriman Abdillah and Glen Cardoza to discuss the key trends in the SEA smartphone market. From falling shipments to H2 2022 outlook, 5G and online vs offline, we discuss all this and more in the podcast.

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You can read the podcast transcript here.

Podcast Chapter Markers

01:42 – Glen talks about smartphone shipments decline in Southeast Asia and key trends to look for.

03:10 – Febriman weighs in on smartphone OEM strategies as rising inflation is resulting in reduced consumer spending.

05:26 – Glen on how OEMs are navigating the trend of lengthening replacement cycle.

07:44 – Febriman talks about different financial schemes from brands to push consumers to upgrade to newer devices.

10:32 – Glen on how online channels are shaping up in key Southeast Asian countries.

12:34 – Febriman on offline channels in Southeast Asian countries and how distributors are increasing their reach.

15:27 – Glen talks about 5G in Southeast Asia from the devices’ point of view, and how it is trickling down to lower price points.

17:50 – Febriman on how operators are preparing for 5G rollout, creating awareness and demonstrating use cases.

20:58 – Glen and Febriman discuss the H2 2022 outlook for the SEA smartphone market.

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Podcast #56: Foundry Capacity Expansion Easing Chip Shortage, But Weakening Demand Can Cause Oversupply

The global semiconductor components shortage has been in the news since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Trade tensions between the US and China further upset the normal supply situation and the automotive sector was among the high-profile casualties. Chip manufacturers addressed the supply-demand issue by increasing capacity.

Then, there is the Russia-Ukraine conflict which has added further uncertainties with respect to some raw materials that are required for semiconductor manufacturing. The geopolitical issues are also creating macroeconomic headwinds, leading to a drop in overall demand. Will an increase in capacity lead to an oversupply situation?

In the latest episode of ‘The Counterpoint Podcast’, host Peter Richardson is joined by Research Director Dale Gai, and Senior Analyst Ashwath Rao to talk about the global semiconductor manufacturing and foundry market update. In this discussion, we talk about the foundry inventory correction cycle, the role of wafer fab equipment makers in the supply chain, the future of process node and packaging technologies, and much more.

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You can read the podcast transcript here.

Podcast Chapter Markers

 02:31 – Dale on foundry inventory correction cycle.

05:04 – Dale weighs in on whether an increase in global semiconductor manufacturing capacity will lead to an oversupply situation.

07:43 – Ashwath talks about the role of the wafer fab equipment manufacturers in the overall supply chain.

10:19 – How geopolitics is affecting lead times for wafer fab equipment.

13:06 – Dale talks about foundry capacity expansion relative to potential equipment delays.

16:07 – Ashwath on how we see process nodes developing over the next few years

19:27 – Ashwath further talks about how semiconductor manufacturing equipment vendors prepared for different packaging technologies.

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