Mobile phone imports in the first half of the year declined 23 percent compared to the corresponding period last year.

The country imported 6.26 million handsets in the first six months of 2012 worth 304 million USD, a decline of 23.7 percent in quantity and 7.5 percent in value, according to the General Department of Customs.
Truong Dinh Anh, general director of FPT Group, a prominent importer and distributor of mobile phones in Vietnam , attributed the poor sales to the severe economic downturn and reduced purchasing power.

A recent survey by the Centre of Industry and Trade Information under the Ministry of Industry and Trade has also shown that purchases of mobile phones in the first half of the year were at their lowest level in the past three years.

Customs officials reported, however, that imports of smart phones with prices of over 5 million VND each (230 USD) experienced a slight increase in the last three months. As many as 22,000 smart phones were imported monthly during the first quarter, jumping to 31,000 per month in the second quarter, partly on the strength of a 400-percent increase in sales growth during the period claimed by Taiwanese smart phone maker HTC.

A separate survey from international market researcher IDC also reflected the slowdown of the mobile market and the evacuation of some vendors from the segment in the first quarter.

"A number of local and Chinese vendors have exited the market, and we expect more to leave the market in 2012 as they struggle to recoup investments under current economic conditions," said Le Thanh Tam, senior market analyst for client devices research at IDC Vietnam.

The smart phone market has also plummeted by 21 percent as only a few Android phone vendors have continued to perform well./.