Outlook for Chinese STB market

Due to strong government support for the nationwide digital conversion, the Chinese domestic set-top box market has not been negatively influenced by the current worldwide financial crisis, although exports of Chinese STBs have been somewhat negatively influenced due to diminishing overseas demand.

An IMS Research report forecasts that, except for the cable STB and grey satellite (DTH) STB markets, all other Chinese STBs such as legal DTH, IP and terrestrial are forecast to grow quickly for the next few years, with respective CAGR of 15.9 per cent, 22.3 per cent and 23.5 per cent.

Digital cable STB shipments are forecast to decrease after reaching a peak in 2009. This is due to the fact that the digital cable platform has been rapidly growing for the past few years and that quick development of legal digital DTH will very likely generate churn from cable. The decreasing shipments of grey DTH STBs is also due to the introduction of legal DTH equipment, which is strongly supported by the Chinese government. The shipment of legal DTH STBs in 2008 was 3.66 million units, and is forecast to grow very quickly to 8.5 million units from 2009.

This IMS Research report also notes that more mid-range and advanced STBs are forecast to enter the Chinese domestic digital market, especially the advanced STBs, with a CAGR of 60.1 per cent during the forecast period. This will be principally driven by the ease with which operators earn profits from providing diversified two-way services such as e-business and by broadcasting HD programming, the developing of technologies to support HDTV, and the overall quality of the customer experience.