A series of new technical standards designed to enhance smart meter quality management and control are set to deploy in August, helping China's smart meter market to expand by 9 percent and break the 100 million-unit shipment threshold for the first time ever this year, according to IHS iSuppli China Research from information and analytics provider IHS.
Overall production in 2012 of electricity meters in China reached 110.6 million units. Of this total, 98.5 million units were smart meters. This year, China's electric meter production is set to grow to 118.4 million units, 107.7 million of which will be smart meters. In the following years smart meters will continue to grow in China, averaging a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.5 percent.
Not surprisingly, the production of common meters is rapidly dwindling as replacement of these conventional meters is accelerating and will nearly be complete by 2016.
The State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) invited smart meter bids four times in 2012. As a result, SGCC procured approximately 78.3 million electricity meters during the year, including 76.0 million smart meters. Meanwhile, the China South Grid (CSG) purchased nearly 5.9 million electricity meters, 20 percent of which were smart meters. In 2013, the bidding targets of the two power grid corporations are expected to remain the same as in 2012.
The meter-bidding process has already started for this year, bringing changes to the market. One of the most noticeable differences is the reduction of meter-purchasing prices. Power data-acquisition systems are also experiencing rapid price erosion, presenting challenges for manufacturers of those products.
Reshuffling meter chips
As predicted in the fourth quarter of 2012, the reshuffling in China's meter semiconductor market has begun. This will be a win-win in terms of cooperation for China's meter microcontroller unit (MCU), metrology chip and power line communication (PLC) fields, IHS believes.
The competitive landscape will continue to change in the near future with the implementation of the new technical trends. Furthermore, restrictions on system-on-chip (SoC) development are apparently also being eased gradually.
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