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Chinese handsets account for almost 40 percent of global shipments

Shipments of Chinese handsets for 2014 have totalled over 450 million, accounting for nearly 40 percent of the global total, set to exceed 50 percent by 2016.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Chinese smartphone vendors will ship over 450 million smartphones by the end of 2014, rising to 38.6 percent of the worldwide total, according to Taiwan-based TrendForce. It also noted that Chinese vendors have been growing at an annual rate of 50 percent since entering the international market in 2011.

In 2015, growth will slow to 17 percent, due to subsidy cuts and smartphone saturation in mainland China said Alan Chen, an analyst at TrendForce, in a statement. Still, shipments will account for over 40 percent of the worldwide total next year, and possibly even over 50 percent in 2016, he noted.

Lenovo, Huawei and Xiaomi have all been vocal about their ambition to become the global top dog in the coming years. Each company will ship over 60 million handsets this year, placing all three companies just below Apple and Samsung, currently the two largest movers of smartphones in the market.

The three Chinese vendors are all aiming to ship 100 million units in 2015. Chen noted that Lenovo's Motorola acquisition and Xiaomi replicating the same success oversees that it enjoyed in its home country will be deciding factors.

Samsung executives earlier in an investors' forum cast doubts on whether Xiaomi, which has replaced the South Korean tech giant as top vendor in China, could continue its success abroad. Xiaomi sells its products online, which helped it save tremendous marketing costs, and Samsung said the strategy won't work abroad.

The research also noted that while more than 30 percent of Huawei, ZTE and TLC's shipments have gone to overseas market, most Chinese players were still mainly local. To find new growth due to the local market saturation, these companies will look to India and Latin America, where smartphone penetration is low and will capitalize on price-competiveness, it said. A successful expansion strategy will be "pivotal" for growth in 2015, the research noted.