China overtakes America as the top smartphone market

Telecom Lead India: China has overtaken America as the
largest smartphone market in the first quarter of 2012. Shipments in China
doubled and overtook those in the US for the first time.

 

In Q1, China represented 22 percent of global smart phone
shipments, while the US accounted for 16 percent. Of the top 10 countries for
smart phones, half are now in the Asia Pacific region, according to a Canalys
report.

 

In Q1 2012, total shipments worldwide grew 45 percent year
on year to 146 million units. Shipments in the US rose 5 percent year-on-year.
Growth across the Asia Pacific region was 81 percent.

 

As well as seasonal factors, such as the Lunar New Year,
the iPhone’s arrival at two of the country’s carriers helped boost volume and
raised Apple’s share to 19 percent,” said Nicole Peng, Canalys Research
Director for China.

Canalys estimates Samsung smart phone share in China stood
at 22 percent in Q1.

Nokia fell to third place in China. ZTE, Huawei and Lenovo
have benefited from being able to offer competitively-priced Android smart
phones.

A key facet of Huawei’s brand strategy for 2012 is to move
up and compete in higher value devices and services. It is developing a clearer
marketing proposition that, combined with its cloud services, will prove more
attractive to consumers in China.

Two-thirds of the smart phones shipping in China in the
first quarter were based on Android, and more than a quarter of all Android
smart phone shipments globally are in China.

Shifting trends in the channels in China mean that vendors
must also keep a close grip on their programs, resources and incentives.

Operators are becoming a more important route to market in
the large cities as they work to drive 3G uptake. Increased credit card
ownership and Internet use means online retailing is on the rise too, through
the likes of 360buy.com,
Taobao and Amazon.

Retailers are looking at new ways to attract consumers, for
example by focusing on initiatives such as back-to-school programs rather than
relying on those timed around traditional holidays. Vendors need to be aware of
all these changes if they want to succeed in the world’s largest smart phone
market,” said Rachel Lashford, managing director, Mobile and APAC.

editor@telecomlead.com