The balance of power in China’s mobile handset market has shifted back in favour of international giants such as Nokia and Motorola, according to a recent study by research group GfK. Over the past five years local equipment manufacturers such as TCL and Nongbo Bird have made giant strides in stealing market share away from their international rivals by offering numerous low-end products to China’s burgeoning mobile subscriber base. It is estimated that these local companies cornered around half of the Chinese market in 2003 but, according to the Financial Times, the study conducted by GfK in the first half of 2004 shows the balance to be swinging back in favour of the international heavyweights which have addressed the situation by introducing a raft of new designs and improving distribution channels. GfK Asia claims that in the first six months of this year the proportion of Chinese handsets sold in the country fell from 49% to 46%, whilst their value fell from 42% to 37% of the total. Many analysts believe the trend will persist as the main players continue to improve sales channels in the big conurbations. Nokia claims it regained the number on spot in the supply market in the first quarter of 2004.