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China No. 3 smartphone maker aims to double sales target in 2014

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China Wireless Technologies Ltd, the country's third biggest smartphone maker by sales, plans to double its sales target this year, the latest budget Chinese handset maker eyeing a windfall in the world's largest mobile phone market.

The Chinese firm, the parent of Coolpad smartphone-maker Yulong, aims to ship 60 million units, including 40 million 4G phones, it said on its official microblog late on Thursday.

The company gave no further details but the 2014 sales figure is more than twice what the company targeted for 2013. Calls to the firm's headquarters were not answered on Friday.

China is likely to see overall sales of more than 450 million mobile devices this year, up from around 360 million in 2013, according to research firm IDC.

The government recently issued licenses for the TD-LTE 4G standard to the country's three telecom carriers - China Mobile Ltd, China Unicom Hong Kong Ltd and China Telecom Corp Ltd.

While Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and Apple Inc dominate the premium end of the market, local rivals have gained market share by targeting cost-conscious consumers. Budget smartphone maker Xiaomi said on Thursday it plans to double sales in the China market this year to 40 million smartphones.

Coolpad smartphones start from 999 yuan ($170), much lower than the $740 price tag for the least expensive iPhone 5C model or a Samsung Galaxy Note II, which can retail for $570.

APPLE PRESSURED

Chinese smartphone makers have enjoyed strong, often triple-digit annual sales growth, far outstripping a wider global market set to grow 18 percent a year to 2016.

U.S. tech giant Apple was in fifth place in terms of sales the third quarter of 2013, with a six percent share. Yulong, meanwhile sat in third place with an 11 percent market share, according to data from technology analyst firm Canalys.

Samsung sells the most smartphones in China, and had a 21 percent market share in the third-quarter of last year. Chinese computer maker Lenovo Group Ltd was in the second spot, followed by Yulong, Huawei Technology Co Ltd and Apple.

Total smartphone shipments in China were 89 million for that quarter.

Apple recently signed a deal with China Mobile Ltd to boost sales in its second biggest market and give the U.S. firm extra firepower in its intensifying global battle with South Korea's Samsung.

Greater China now accounts for close to 40 percent of the global smartphone market, making it the largest in the world, according to Canalys. It grew 64 percent in the third quarter, making it the world's fastest growing market.

($1 = 6.0506 Chinese yuan)

(Reporting by Adam Jourdan; Editing by Miral Fahmy)

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