Apple Tops Japanese Mobile Market for 4Q 2011

iPhone Sales Top Japanese Market

The launch of the iPhone 4S in Japan helped Apple claim the top spot in that country’s mobile phone market for the first time last quarter, according to research firm IDC.

First reported by The Mainichi Daily News, the IDC research note shows Apple taking the top spot in the October to December 2011 quarter with 26.6 percent of mobile phone shipments. Fujitsu (formerly Toshiba’s mobile division) and Sharp trailed Apple with 18.3 percent and 15.7 percent, respectively.

Apple’s fourth quarter surge helped the Cupertino company place third overall for the year, with 14.2 percent of all Japanese mobile shipments, a market which totaled 37.96 million units in 2011. The aforementioned Fujitsu and Sharp took second and first place for the year, respectively.

Apple currently has agreements with two of the top three Japanese mobile carriers, KDDI and Softbank, and is reportedly still in talks with DoCoMo, the country’s number one carrier. The company has made further efforts to appeal to the Japanese market by including native language support for the iPhone 4S’s Siri interface in the latest version of iOS, released this week. 

While last quarter’s surge is likely to decline as the iPhone 4S demand winds down, Apple will likely see continued growth in a country that, despite its mature cellular infrastructure, is still growing year-over-year at approximately 15 percent.