Apple’s share of the Chinese smartphone market leapt 75 percent in the June quarter, rising from 9.9 percent to 17.3 percent. Needham & Company’s Charles Wolfe said in a quarterly report on the smartphone industry that overall smartphone sales in China rose 164 percent to 33.1 million units.
That number is significant, because it means that China is now the largest smartphone market on the planet. The U.S. saw 25 million smartphones sold during the quarter, making it the second largest smartphone market in the world.
Apple has seen substantial growth in China in the last three years, boosted in part by the iPhone. An increase in share of such a fast growing market is, therefore, big news, but Android is currently the biggest platform in the country. Mr. Wolfe said that Android had 69.5 percent of the market, with most of those sales going to so-called second tier OEMs making cheap, budget devices.
“The surge in China can be traced in part to the introduction of smartphones at materially lower prices that made them competitive with feature phones,” Mr. Wolf wrote, according to AppleInsider. “A material percentage of these sales were captured by second-tier Chinese manufacturers.”
Another important aspect about the Chinese market is that Apple doesn’t have a carrier deal with China Mobile, the world’s largest cell phone carrier. The company claimed some 677 million customers in May of 2012, more than twice as large as the entire population of the U.S.
Despite not having an iPhone that works with the company’s 3G (or 4G) network, China Mobile still claimed to have more than 15 million iPhones in use on its network by people living with 2G speeds.
Rumors have been hot that the next version of the iPhone will work on China Mobile’s network, and such a deal could help Apple grow its share in the country. China Mobile itself said in May that it was working hard to get an iPhone deal with Apple.
We should note that BusinessInsider spun Apple’s growth in the country as a smashing victory for Android, so take the news as you wish.