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Kyocera Handset Sales Strong in Latin America
Jun 16, 2004
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According to Kyocera Wireless, maker of CDMA handsets, Latin America should represent 25 percent of the company's sales this fiscal year compared to 15 percent in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2004.

Lee Ittner, Kyocera Latin America vice president, Sales said the division has seen the importance of Latin America grow from 4 percent of sales in fiscal 2002 to 10 percent in fiscal 2003 and now 15 percent. Kyocera Wireless, which evolved from Kyocera's purchase of the handset manufacturing division from U.S.-based Qualcomm, covers the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and India, while other divisions cover Europe, Japan, and Asia.

Mr. Ittner said he expects revenues to grow more than 100 percent this year, similar to the growth seen in the year just closed. Latin American sales for the year ending March 2004 were up 135 percent year-on-year, and units shipped up 173 percent. Revenues for fiscal fourth quarter were in fact up 300 percent compared to the previous year.

The company now has 19 handset models available in the region and plans to launch three more in the next few months. Operators in Mexico, Argentina, and Venezuela are selling up to 11 of the 19 models, while Vivo in Brazil has taken on three Kyocera models since signing with the vendor in November.

Kyocera has a 35 percent market share of handsets operated by Mexico's Unefon and expects to grow that share, Mr. Ittner said. Kyocera ranks third in terms of CDMA handset penetration worldwide and has a 26 percent market share in Latin America across all technologies in 2003, according to Natasha Marvin, the company's regional marketing director.

Parent company Kyocera billed 1.1 trillion yen (approx. U.S. $10.4 billion) in the fiscal year just ended. Handset manufacturing is part of Kyocera's equipment group, which includes cameras, printers, and copiers, and was responsible for almost half the group's revenues. (Business News Americas)

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