The China smartphone market experienced a slowdown in the fourth quarter of 2013, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Asia/Pacific Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.

This slump has taken everybody by surprise as this market had 9 consecutive quarters of explosive growth.This explosive growth made China the leader of global smartphone market but the prospects do not look very bright right now with this sudden slump.

The China smartphone market shipped 90.8 million units compared to 94.8 million in the third quarter of 2013.

This represents a decline of 4.3% quarter on quarter and this is due to many factors including the failure of 4G handsets to reach the market fully until the first quarter of 2014.

"The world has increasingly looked to China as the powerhouse to propel the world's smartphone growth and this is the first hiccup we've seen in an otherwise stellar growth path," said Melissa Chau, senior research manager with IDC Asia/Pacific's Client Devices team.

Popularity of phablets

Slump in Chinese smartphone market is also due to the increasing popularity of phablets and reduction of phone subsidies on phones with smaller screens.

Cut in subsidies encouraged distribution channels to clear out those stocks, according to IDC that predicts the growth in Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) region to shift to ever-more emerging markets in the coming years.

More Chinese phone players will expand their footprint outside their country ambitions overseas in 2014.

"Chinese players are getting hungrier to turn themselves into international rather than China-only brands. Nowhere is this more clear than Lenovo's acquisition of Motorola's handset business, and even smaller players, some unknown to much of the world, like Oppo, BBK, Gionee and of course Xiaomi are ramping up on international expansion," added Chau.

Findings from the tracker also show that India was at the third place amongst the largest smartphone markets in the world in 2013. India reached this position after beating Japan, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Germany and France.