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China Unicom to Reduce Cheapest Smartphone Prices by 30%

China Unicom (Hong Kong) Ltd., the country’s second-biggest wireless carrier, will cut the price of its cheapest smartphones by 30 percent to about $110 in an effort to expand its market share as user growth slows.

China Unicom will introduce smartphones costing less than 700 yuan in China in the near future, after “great success” with models priced at less than 1,000 yuan ($157), President Lu Yimin told the GSMA Mobile Asia Expo in Shanghai today.

“For the mass market we launched a series of promotions with 1,000-renminbi smartphones” from 2010 to 2011, Lu said. “In 2012, we will continue promotion measures.”

China Unicom declined 3.9 percent to HK$10.40 as of 1:52 p.m. in Hong Kong trading, poised for its biggest drop since June 4.

Lu didn’t provide a more specific timeframe for selling the cheaper smartphones. China Unicom currently offers handsets from Huawei Technologies Co. and ZTE Corp. costing less than 1,000 yuan each.

The Beijing-based company has introduced 235 smartphones since starting 3G service in 2009, Lu said.

The carrier added 2.73 million users to its third-generation, or 3G, service last month, China Unicom said yesterday. That was fewer than the 2.92 million additions in April, and was the lowest monthly gain since September.

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