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China surpasses US as biggest market for Apple, Android devices

post #1 of 22
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The world's most populous nation is now the biggest market for devices such as Apple's iPhone and those running Google's Android operating system, as a new report has China surpassing the U.S. for the total number of smart devices in operation.

Flurry 1


Research firm Flurry tracked more than 2.4 billion anonymous, aggregated application sessions across more than 275,000 applications around the world, finding that the Chinese smart device market surpassed the United States market over the last month. In January 2013, China's 221 million total active iOS and Android devices was about equal to the 222 million in the United States, according to Flurry.

From January 2012 to January 2013, the U.S. added 55 million new smart devices. Over the same period of time, China added nearly three times as many: 150 million new devices. Flurry's report estimates that, had it not been for the traditionally heavy holiday shopping season, China would have overtaken the U.S. two months ago.

Taking into account the rate of growth for the mobile market, China should at the end of February have roughly 246 million devices, while the U.S. should have 230 million.

Given that China has more than four times the population of the United States, Flurry does not expect the U.S. to regain the lead in device activations.

Flurry 2


The only country that could come close is India, which has a population comparable to China's. India, though, currently stands at only 19 million active smart devices, by Flurry's estimate, and is not likely to challenge China in the near future. China and the United States each have more than five times the smart device install base of the next largest market, the United Kingdom.

Even given its massive install base, China still ranks among the top 10 fastest growing Android/iOS markets. At 209 percent growth year-over-year, it ranks sixth in therms of growth rate. Topping that list are Colombia and Vietnam, at 287 and 266 percent growth, respectively.

Flurry's report tags the mobile computing boom as the fastest-adopted technology revolution in history, pegging it at 10 times faster than the PC revolution and three times faster than the Internet boom. China is apparently now at the forefront of that revolution, and Apple in particular is keenly aware of the opportunities and challenges presented by the world's most populous country.

Flurry 3


Apple CEO Tim Cook has made multiple visits to China in the past year, meeting with executives from China Mobile, the country's ? and the world's ? largest wireless carrier. Such meetings, along with recent payment option changes, are aimed at getting Apple products into the hands of Chinese consumers, who typically cannot afford the premium pricing Apple attaches to its wares.

Among the Chinese that can afford Apple products, the company's offerings have proven an immense success. The iPhone 5 moved two million units in its first weekend of Chinese availability, and Apple's iPad mini reportedly debuted to insatiable demand.

Discussing the issue in quarterly conference calls and interviews, Cook has noted the importance of the Chinese market in Apple's future plans. The company already heavily relies on China and southeast Asia in general for supplies and cheap manufacturing labor, but figures like those seen in Flurry's report are leading analysts and investors to predict that the company must make lower-cost iDevices in order to fully address the mobile computing boom in emerging markets.
post #2 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwmac View Post

Surprised Japan was so few. It has a much larger population than either Korea or the U.K. I would have expected it to easily have 60 or 70 million active smart phones by now. Guess that Galapagos effect is still somewhat still in play with their unique but pretty powerful feature phones with 20MP cameras and other features they are reluctant to let go for a smart phone.

I read this story on CNN last night as part of their silly Samsung is out innovating Apple fluff piece and winning in China.

http://cnn.com/video/#/video/business/2013/01/25/dnt-chiou-samsung-apple.cnn

Well, there's proof-positive that some of the obscene money being spent by Samsung on marketing is paying off. :/

post #3 of 22
I understand that the localization of the iOS software for the Chinese market is of high quality (language, Emoji, handwriting) Is the quality on Android comparable? (No jokes please) If not, I would bet that Apple will have a major advantage over Android, because history keeps on proving it is all about the experience, and not the price.
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post #4 of 22

You do for me!

post #5 of 22

So, the Chinese people want to walk around banging into lamp posts and falling through open manholes while tweeting and texting just like we do?

 

What a legacy to share with the world.   More people surfing and texting while driving, walking down stairs, and sitting on exercise equipment not exercising.  

 

Just what the world needed.

post #6 of 22
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Originally Posted by Obama View Post

So, the Chinese people want to walk around banging into lamp posts and falling through open manholes while tweeting and texting just like we do?

 

What a legacy to share with the world.   More people surfing and texting while driving, walking down stairs, and sitting on exercise equipment not exercising.  

 

Just what the world needed.

Yep! and once the Chinese are fat and lazy, there is always Africa to exploit.

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post #7 of 22
Last I read Google's Android was ~ 2% of the China market. Most Android in China is a forked version with no benefit to Google.

I only bring this up since the article mentions Google's Android.
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just waiting to be included in one of Apple's target markets.
Don't get me wrong, I like the flat panel iMac, actually own an iMac, and I like the Mac mini, but...........
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post #8 of 22
Are there any numbers for iOS devices only? I ask it because a good measure of Chinese economy would be to know how many iOS devices they buy compared to the US. Android doesn't count because most of the brands are low-cost
post #9 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post

I understand that the localization of the iOS software for the Chinese market is of high quality (language, Emoji, handwriting) Is the quality on Android comparable? (No jokes please) If not, I would bet that Apple will have a major advantage over Android, because history keeps on proving it is all about the experience, and not the price.

As that anti-Apple shill Gatorguy pointed out last month Android has Chinese localizations (as well as a lot more than Apple supports worldwide) but what it doesn't tell us is how good they are.

For instance, the latest Android OS lists Taiwan Chinese and PRC (People's Republic of China*) Chinese. That isn't very helpful considering how many variations there are on mainland China. By comparison iOS lists Chinese (Simplified) and Chinese (Traditional) with the Wikipedia page for iOS 6.0 listing China (Mandarin) and Hong Kong (Cantonese) as additions for additional country and language support.

iOS sounds like it's more complete to me and using Apple and Android's history of including cut/copy/paste I'll need some proof to think that Android hasn't cut corners with their localization claims. iOS also supports Chinese-Pinyin, Added Cangjie and Wubihua keyboards, Baidu, Tencent’s QQ Mail, Netease’s 163.com & 126.com mail, Weibo, Youku, and Tudou natively, which I'm guessing Android is less likely to do with all those services.

Finally, just looking at the link below they appear to support a lot more services in China than I would have expected, especially with Siri. We've also heard about Apple Maps supporting China much better than Google may be an indicator that Apple is considerably more serious about China than Google is hence the better mapping support and could be an indicator that iOS is simply a much better option than Android OS in this sense.


PS: I think both support handwriting recognition for Chinese but I would wager that iOS is likely better with logograms than Android, although I'd love to have some people from China way in on this. Even if you've only used one OS at least give us your impression on that OS.
Edited by SolipsismX - 2/18/13 at 3:09pm

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post #10 of 22
The thing is though, Apple, more than other companies, like to create entirely new devices (iWatch?). And new tech is always relatively expensive for a few years until the competition catches up, and manufacturers get better at making the components.

So in that sense, countries with high GDP per capita are more important to Apple than merely big overall countries, because it's only a large *and* rich population that enables the launch of the totally new. Large but poor can't do it and neither can small but rich. So I think you will see US, UK being the "launch markets" for a while yet.
post #11 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post

I understand that the localization of the iOS software for the Chinese market is of high quality (language, Emoji, handwriting) Is the quality on Android comparable? (No jokes please) If not, I would bet that Apple will have a major advantage over Android, because history keeps on proving it is all about the experience, and not the price.

Does iOS have native support for Chinese handwriting input?  I can find that Android does, but having trouble determining if it's (yet) an iOS feature. I've looked but specific Chinese language comparisons seem to be non-existent. Google's voice features haven't ever been found lacking when compared to iOS in other languages tho. If anything they're often mentioned as more accurate when features like dictation and voice search are put side-by-side.

 

With so many Android phones selling in China, far outselling iOS so far, I'd be pretty surprised to find Android didn't fully and accurately support Chinese users in language, Emoji or handwriting. Maybe there's some Chinese forum member here using the both latest Android version and iOS that could do a short comparison on the language features. I seem to remember there are at least a couple in Hong Kong, maybe one in Singapore too.


Edited by Gatorguy - 2/18/13 at 1:30pm
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post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

As that anti-Apple shill Gatorguy pointed out last month. . .

1biggrin.gif

We may not always agree but we always respect the other's views. 

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post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

PS: I think both support handwriting recognition for Chinese but I would wager that iOS is likely better with logograms than Android, although I'd love to have some people from China way in on this. Even if you've only used one OS at least give us your impression on that OS.

... and we both make the same suggestion.

 

EDIT: I did stumble on an article discussing Chinese voice recognition efforts by some folks besides Apple and Google.

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2408253,00.asp


Edited by Gatorguy - 2/18/13 at 1:44pm
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post #14 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

Does iOS have native support for Chinese handwriting input?  I can find that Android does, but having trouble determining if it's (yet) an iOS feature. I've looked but specific Chinese language comparisons seem to be non-existent. Google's voice features haven't ever been found lacking when compared to iOS in other languages tho. If anything they're often mentioned as more accurate when features like dictation and voice search are put side-by-side.

With so many Android phones selling in China, far outselling iOS so far, I'd be pretty surprised to find Android didn't fully and accurately support Chinese users in language, Emoji or handwriting. Maybe there's some Chinese forum member here using the both latest Android version and iOS that could do a short comparison on the language features. I seem to remember there are at least a couple in Hong Kong, maybe one in Singapore too.

It does support it. It has since iOS 2.0 circa 2008 for at least both Traditional and Simplified. That's long before the first Android-based device ever went on sale.




But I'm not concerned with who was first. i only care about the current state of the tech. Which is more usable, what needs to be added and why, etc.?

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post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

Does iOS have native support for Chinese handwriting input?  

 

It's been a part of iOS for years, if you had an iPhone it would take a few seconds to find it in the International keyboards in settings, I used to demonstrate it to Chinese people on an iPhone 3G.

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post #16 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

For instance, the latest Android OS lists Taiwan Chinese and PRC (People's Republic of China*) Chinese. That isn't very helpful considering how many variations there are on mainland China. 

Beijing dialect of Chinese is intelligible and spoken by almost all people in PRC as is writing in Simplified Chinese. Regardless of what local dialect they speak among their village and household they are almost all conversant in Standard Chinese except possibly in very remote regions.

 

One thing Apple really needs in their iOS language capabilities is a multi-language keyboard and spell correction. I work with a lot of Chinese, Japanese and Spanish speaking business people and there is usually a mixture of English as well as the person's default language. It is really a nuisance to compose an email when you have mixed languages. I am constantly cursing the spell corrector when I use Spanish words in an English message which is a frequent situation I have to deal with. Why can't we just put in a setting that identifies both languages as possible spelling corrections as I'm sure I am not the only one struggling with this issue.

 

Same thing with Siri. Google translate can recognize the input language as soon as you start typing. I think Siri should be able to recognize the input language just as any bilingual person does.

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post #17 of 22
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Originally Posted by hill60 View Post

 

It's been a part of iOS for years, if you had an iPhone it would take a few seconds to find it in the International keyboards in settings, I used to demonstrate it to Chinese people on an iPhone 3G.

Thanks to both you and Soli.

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post #18 of 22
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Originally Posted by mstone View Post

One thing Apple really needs in their iOS language capabilities is a multi-language keyboard and spell correction. I work with a lot of Chinese, Japanese and Spanish speaking business people and there is usually a mixture of English as well as the person's default language. It is really a nuisance to compose an email when you have mixed languages. I am constantly cursing the spell corrector when I use Spanish words in an English message which is a frequent situation I have to deal with. Why can't we just put in a setting that identifies both languages as possible spelling corrections as I'm sure I am not the only one struggling with this issue.

Same thing with Siri. Google translate can recognize the input language as soon as you start typing. I think Siri should be able to recognize the input language just as any bilingual person does.

I agree. The languages section in Settings shouldn't be a one-or-the-other option but allow you to tap as many as you want (or at least several) to make a check mark appear on that item and let you change the preferred order in case there are some corrections or pronunciations that are in conflict. Mac OS X allows you to do all this and has for as long as I can remember.

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post #19 of 22
Wow. So much great feedback - thanks guys. I agree on the multi language 'issue' mstone. I write to a lot of Dutch friends but think in English and therefore my messages get all tangled up, so to speak. Easier for me to write in English all the time, unfortunately not everyone likes that.

Good post Solipsism on all the efforts Apple has undertaken for the Chinese. I was impressed by that last (?) keynote where they showed off all their 'Chinese initiatives'.

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post #20 of 22
Reading through all these comments, I can only draw one conclusion... Apple is DOOOMED! Word is out that only 2% of the consumers in China can afford iPhones and 98% will be buying Samsung Android smartphones. I guess Apple is pretty much done for with its share price steadily marching towards $400 a share.
post #21 of 22
Originally Posted by Constable Odo View Post
Reading through all these comments, I can only draw one conclusion... Apple is DOOOMED! Word is out that only 2% of the consumers in China can afford iPhones and 98% will be buying Samsung Android smartphones. I guess Apple is pretty much done for with its share price steadily marching towards $400 a share.

 

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post #22 of 22
A country with 4 times as many people had 3 times as many smart phones sold.


What a shock.
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