Unbranded “white box” cell phones produced by Chinese manufacturers for sale in emerging markets are the driving force behind a recent global surge in wireless handset shipments, proclaims a study released this week by research firm Gartner Inc. According to Gartner vice president Carolina Milanesi, vigorous gains from the sales of low cost, low-end white box phones in India, Russia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America have prompted Gartner to revise its full-year industry growth forecast for 2010 upward to 30% from earlier estimates of 13-to-15 percent. During the third quarter, white box handsets built primarily on chipsets produced by MediaTek of Taiwan captured a 33% share of the global market as compared to a 16.1% share of that market during the same period last year. Although total handset shipments worldwide surged by 35% over the third quarter of 2009, global market share held by the top five handset manufacturers fell from 83% to 67%. Nokia, the world’s top producer of lower-end handsets, saw its share of the market drop from 36.7% to 28.2%. Asserting that “consumer demand is healthy,” Milanesi explained that “Nokia’s performance didn’t get worse, it’s that the market is so much larger so the share comes down.”