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iPhone 4S launch helps China top US to become largest smartphone market

post #1 of 12
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Further demonstrating the importance of China to Apple's business, the country has now surpassed the U.S. in terms of smartphone subscribers, making it the largest smartphone market in the world.

The changing of the guard was noted this week by research firm Canalys, which said the arrival of the iPhone 4S in China in January helped the market move past the U.S. In the first quarter of 2012, China represented 22 percent of global smartphone shipments, while the U.S. accounted for 16 percent.

Just a year earlier, the roles were flipped: It was the U.S. that accounted for 22 percent of smartphone sales, while China was behind it with 16 percent.

Total smartphone shipments grew 45 percent year over year to 146 million units, but shipments in the U.S. rose just 5 percent year over year. Shipments in China doubled during the same period, allowing it to overtake the U.S.

To further show how the market has shifted, Canalys revealed that out of the top 10 countries where smartphones are sold, half of them are now located in the Asia-Pacific region. Shipments in the Asia-Pacific region grew a whopping 81 percent year over year in the first quarter.

The iPhone accounted for 19 percent of all smartphones shipped to China in the first quarter of 2012, making the company second only to Samsung, which took a 22 percent share of the market. Two-thirds of smartphones that shipped in China in the first quarter were based in China.

China


The importance of China to Apple was apparent in the iPhone maker's most recent quarterly earnings conference call, in which Chief Executive Tim Cook revealed that iPhone sales in Greater China were five times greater during the March quarter of 2012 than they were a year prior.

Apple's success in China also goes beyond the iPhone, as the company's much-touted "halo effect" also pushed Mac sales up 60 percent year over year during the last quarter. Cook said he considers it "mind boggling" that Apple could do so well in China, where revenue for the quarter was $7.39 billion.

"China has an enormous number of people moving into higher income groups ? middle class, if you will," he said. "And this is creating a demand for goods ? not just Apple's, but other companies' as well."

One analysis issued earlier this week from Chris Whitmore of Deutsche Bank found that iPhone sales are "just getting started" in China. He said that even if Apple doesn't forge a partnership with China Mobile, the largest carrier in the world, he still believes Apple will reach sales of 35 million iPhones in that market in 2013.
post #2 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The iPhone accounted for 19 percent of all smartphones shipped to China in the first quarter of 2012, making the company second only the Samsung, which took a 22 percent share of the market. Two-thirds of smartphones that shipped in China in the first quarter were based in China.

Do they actually ship the iPhone to China?

 

 "The Samsung" lol.gif

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post #3 of 12

Population of China: ~ 1,340,000,000

Population of US: ~313,000,000

 

Yep, only an obvious matter of time.

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post #4 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by thataveragejoe View Post

Population of China: ~ 1,340,000,000

Population of US: ~313,000,000

 

Yep, only an obvious matter of time.

Yes, but only about half of that figure is for people living in urban areas of China where smartphones would be common. I think by comparison all of the US could be considered urban, at least on a social level. Even so, the urban population of China is double the entire US population. I was reading that Ferrari sold 500 cars in China last year and only 2,000 in the US. Also in China they cost 300% more. China is quickly becoming a luxury consumer country. It took Japan almost 50 years to become on par with the US after WWII in terms of modern standard of living and public infrastructure, where as China is on track to achieve that level, at least in the urban areas, perhaps within the next 5-10 years.

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post #5 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Yes, but only about half of that figure is for people living in urban areas of China where smartphones would be common. I think by comparison all of the US could be considered urban, at least on a social level. Even so, the urban population of China is double the entire US population. I was reading that Ferrari sold 500 cars in China last year and only 2,000 in the US. Also in China they cost 300% more. China is quickly becoming a luxury consumer country. It took Japan almost 50 years to become on par with the US after WWII in terms of modern standard of living and public infrastructure, where as China is on track to achieve that level, at least in the urban areas, perhaps within the next 5-10 years.

 

 

getting that infrastructure "right" and last long could be challenging.

post #6 of 12

China's sales of smartphones may double in the next 2-3 yrs.

post #7 of 12

I've heard that only 1% of all Chinese citizens will buy iPhones and 99% will buy Android smartphones because they're a lot cheaper.

post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Constable Odo View Post

I've heard that only 1% of all Chinese citizens will buy iPhones and 99% will buy Android smartphones because they're a lot cheaper.

Samsung Galaxy S2 is $689 in China. Android smartphones are the same price there as anywhere else, and as the iPhone.

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post #9 of 12
Quote:
Samsung Galaxy S2 is $689 in China. Android smartphones are the same price there as anywhere else, and as the iPhone.

Except there are many Android Phones from Chinese Maker which are a lot cheaper. Example Meizu sell a 95% same spec model of GS2 for $399 in China. And there are many local brands selling it cheaper as well.

So it really was Android that helps china becomes the largest Smartphone Market.
post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by ksec View Post

Quote:
Samsung Galaxy S2 is $689 in China. Android smartphones are the same price there as anywhere else, and as the iPhone.
Except there are many Android Phones from Chinese Maker which are a lot cheaper. Example Meizu sell a 95% same spec model of GS2 for $399 in China. And there are many local brands selling it cheaper as well.
So it really was Android that helps china becomes the largest Smartphone Market.

yeah, Two-thirds of the smart phones were Android.

post #11 of 12

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-01-19/china-unicom-adds-record-3g-customers-undercutting-iphone-tech.html

 

China's home-grown smartphone producers are grabbing big segments of the China mobile market by combining aggressive pricing with most of the features found on high-end phones.

 

 

"China Unicom Hong Kong Ltd., the nation’s No. 2 carrier, is adding a record number of high-speed wireless subscribers and gaining market share by pushing smartphones that cost 80 percent less than Apple Inc.’s iPhone.

China Unicom started winning customers from market leader China Mobile Ltd. after it switched focus from high-end users of the iPhone to those who can’t afford the device. China Unicom started selling handsets from local manufacturers Huawei Technologies Co. and ZTE Corp. that cost less than 1,000 yuan ($158), or about half a month’s salary for an urban worker.

The strategy helped make China Unicom the best-performing stock on the benchmark Hang Seng Index last year with a 47 percent increase. It also accelerated the shift to high-speed networks in China, putting the nation on course to surpass the U.S. in smartphone users and enabling Huawei and ZTE to compete against Apple in their home market."

"China introduced third-generation wireless networks in 2009, six years after the U.S. Adoption of the high-speed service was hampered by handset prices in a nation where monthly urban disposable income was 1,811 yuan per capita through the first nine months of last year, according to the national statistics bureau.

A 16-gigabyte iPhone 4S costs 4,988 yuan ($791 US) at Apple’s online store, or more than two months’ wages."

"Last year’s introduction of cheaper models from Huawei and ZTE spurred a 44 percent jump in monthly 3G subscriber sign-ups in June compared with January. The top three carriers -- China Mobile, China Unicom and China Telecom Corp., respectively -- added a record 8.34 million subscribers in September."

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post #12 of 12

It's a little weird the iPhone costs so much more in China, where it's made...

 

Growth in Chinese smartphone markets...in reality it's a shift in the world wide economy - the money is going to China. End of story. I've met economic migrants here - US citizens who moved to Shanghai to make big money! Imagine that! 

 

As for "most of the US is urban" - I don't think so. The USA certainly has a much larger GDP per capita than China but there's an embarrassingly large segment of working poor in the USA now. Median house price in Detroit in 2011 - $6,000. 

 

Totally true that Android numbers in Asia Pac - where there's no subsidies for the most part - are largely made up of cheap phones. Samsung sells tons of $150 Android phones. Unsurprisingly as if you compare the features of their $150 Android phone to a regular "middle class" (for here) Nokia, the Android phone wins by far. It can't compete with an iPhone, but it destroys dumb phones at the same price level in terms of value. China's home grown brands obviously compete in this area too - however, I don't think they have an advantage over Samsung and others, as everyone is manufacturing in China anyway. 

 

This also explains: Android market share; and lack of ICS penetration as these low end Androids all run 2.2 or 2.3. 

 

In Thailand, high end is mostly iPhones and some high end Samsungs, middle class is all Samsung/Android and some odd Chinese brand Android phones, and low end is Nokia / Samsung Nokia clones. 

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