iPhone supplier Murata targets China budget smartphone makers

By Sam Nussey and Miho Uranaka

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese smartphone component supplier Murata Manufacturing aims to grow sales to Chinese makers of lower-end handsets destined for emerging markets as it looks beyond saturated strongholds.

Murata, a leading supplier of ceramic capacitors, sees the smartphone market growing 5% in the year ending March 2025, aided by demand for mid- and low-end handsets in places such as India, Africa and Southeast Asia.

“Exports by Chinese makers to areas with growing populations are really increasing,” Murata President Norio Nakajima said in an interview.

Murata, a supplier to Apple and Samsung Electronics, is among industry players grappling with depressed smartphone demand as consumers hold on to handsets for longer.

In October, smartphone sales grew 5% year-on-year after more than two years of decline, boosted by emerging-market demand, showed data from research firm Counterpoint.

Within China itself, excess inventory is normalising, Nakajima said.

Last month, Apple said demand for its iPhone in China remains strong, with analysts also pointing to strong sales of smartphones from local champion Huawei Technologies.

(Reporting by Sam Nussey and Miho Uranaka; Editing by Christopher Cushing)