Singapore/Shanghai — Smartphone shipments in China fell between 12% to 15.5% last year, market data indicated, suggesting a bleak outlook for the sector at a time when behemoths Apple and Samsung Electronics have already issued dour forecasts. The China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT), a research institute under the country's ministry of industry and IT, said shipments dropped 15.5% to roughly 390-million units for the year, with a 17% slump in December. Market research firm Canalys estimates shipments fell 12% in China last year and expects smartphone shipments in 2019 to dip below 400-million for the first time since 2014. The Chinese smartphone market, the world's largest, could shrink another 3% this year, Canalys said, in what would be a third straight year of declines. Smartphone shipments in the country had fallen 4% in 2017. Shipments are the number of smartphones that manufacturers deliver to retailers and carriers, different from sales that hap...

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