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Dopod aims to boost sales 50% via 15 new cell phone models

DOPOD Communications Corp will launch 15 new cell phone models in the domestic market this year, with 80 percent of them being 3G models, and it is expected to debut a Google-system phone, or Gphone, in China in May, it said yesterday.

Through the new models and more aggressive promotions, Dopod aims for a 50-percent jump in sales in the domestic market, despite the tough economic environment, its chief operating officer, Paul Hsu, said during an exclusive interview with Shanghai Daily. In 2008, Dopod launched 10 models.

Shanghai-based Dopod will launch five to six models boasting the United States-developed CDMA 2000 (code division multiple access) 3G technology this year, which is adopted by China Telecom. It also expects to launch new models boasting the home-grown 3G technology TD-SCDMA (time division-synchronous CDMA) in the second half of the year. The majority of Dopod's new 3G phones in China will be WCDMA (wideband CDMA), which is widely used in overseas markets where it sells its phone under the HTC brand.

Due to the shrinking economy, global mobile phone sales are set to drop 1.9 percent in 2009, the first annual decrease since 2001, according to International Data Corp, a US-based research firm.

In 2009, group purchases by carriers or distributors (including Gome and Suning) will account for 50 percent of Dopod's total sales, compared with 30 percent last year, Hsu said.

Dopod's other new models include an upgraded version of its popular Touch Diamond touchscreen phone and a Google Android-system phone, the Magic.

Dopod Magic, which integrates Google applications like Google Maps, is expected to debut in China for 2G networks in May through cooperation with China Mobile, according to the firm.

"In the 3G era, carriers will dominate to promote 3G applications and therefore to improve ARPU (average revenue per user)," said Sandy Shen, an analyst at consultancy Gartner Inc.



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