Feature Article

February 20, 2014

Apple Makes Gains in China Smartphone Market

It seems the fourth quarter of 2013 was a strong one for Apple’s iPhone in pretty much every part of the world. Indeed, the latest comScore MobiLens Mobile Matrix reported that Apple was up during the period in the U.S. with a market share increase of 1.2 percent. However, it’s not the U.S. market that has Apple, and pretty much every other smartphone manufacturer worried, but rather China.

Fortunately for Apple, it managed similar gains in the crucial country during Q4, according to research firm IDC, thanks largely to strong demand for the iPhone 5S. Overall, Apple’s mobile market share in mainland China rose to seven percent in the quarter, up from six percent in Q3.

This is significant because Q4 of 2013 was the first full quarter during which the iPhone 5S and 5C were available in China. In fact, this is the first generation of iPhones to be released in China shortly after their U.S. launch. In the past, iPhones would go on sale in China months after they were first made available elsewhere.

Although this is something of a victory for Apple, it’s still quite an uphill battle for the company as China’s smartphone market consists largely of low-cost Android models. That said, Apple was the fifth-largest smartphone vendor in China during Q4.

Meanwhile, Samsung held onto its number one position in the market, with a 19 percent share, followed somewhat closely by Lenovo Group at 13 percent share. Local smartphone brand Coolpad and Huawei Technologies came in third and fourth, with 11 and 10 percent share, respectively.

While it’s difficult to imagine Apple ever becoming the number one smartphone maker in China, there’s certainly room to increase its sales there. The company seems to believe this is the case as well, since it has been making moves to increase its presence in the country lately. Most recently, Apple opened a Tmall Store, introducing another avenue for Chinese consumers to buy its products. 

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

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