IDC ranks Apple as the fifth largest smartphone vendor in China, saying it has a 9% share of the 78 million smartphones sold there in the first quarter. While the Chinese smartphone market as a whole grew by 117%, Apple’s sales of the entry level iPhone 4 grew by 211%.
IDC’s Q1 2013 “China Mobile Phone Quarterly Tracker” gave first place to Samsung, which has 19 percent, twice the unit share of Apple. But Samsung also has a 47 percent share of smartphones being sold for less than $200, highlighting the fact that Samsung’s unit sales aim at the low end of the market.
The report quoted Antonio Wang, the Associate Director of Computing Systems Research Group for IDC China, as saying, “In China’s smartphone market, Samsung has switched its marketing focus from competing with Apple for high-end market to maintaining its high-end market share, and is starting to strive for market for products under USD 200, which has so far been dominated by domestic brands. However, Apple leverages the incentive policies for channels to inspire the shipments of iPhone 4, further expanding its user base.”
China became the number one market for iOS and Android smartphones in February, passing the United States to take the lead, according to Flurry Analytics.
IDC noted that as of Q1 2013, the market share of smartphones with screen sizes of 5-inches and above reached 7.5%, indicating, in IDC’s words, that “…large-screen mobile phones are gradually becoming acceptable to consumers.” The company predicts the market share for such devices will reach 20% by the end of 2013.
While many believed that Chinese hardware makers would have a home field advantage in the Chinese smartphone market, many domestic manufacturers had encountered bottlenecks in the production of such devices. IDC cited patent limitations and sources of “core components controlled by large foreign vendors,” as factors.