Telecom Lead Asia: China’s smartphone market is expected to increase to 460 million by 2017 from 213 million in 2012, according to IDC.
460 million smartphones will make up nearly 90.1 percent of mobile phone sales.
China has more than 1 billion mobile phone subscribers, with many switching from low-end feature phones to smartphones in the past few years as prices become more affordable with some smartphones selling for less than 1,000 yuan ($160) apiece, Reuters reported.
Handset vendors — Samsung , Apple, ZTE , Huawei, Nokia, Lenova and others — shipped 213 million smartphones in 2012, more than double 2011 figures.
IDC did not share rankings of top smartphone vendors in China.
Smartphones made up almost 58.8 percent of total handsets shipped in China in 2012, with the figure expected to rise to 78.4 percent in 2013 and 90.1 percent in 2017.
Both 3G and 4G will drive smartphone growth.
Recently, IHS predicted that China Mobile’s 4G subscribers is likely to touch 228.8 million in 2017. China Mobile’s 4G (using TD-LTE technology) user base represents 52 percent of China’s 439.9 million total 4G users.
China Unicom will have 114.4 million 4G users during the period.
China Telecom’s 4G / LTE users will grow to 96.8 million.
By 2017, 600,000 TD-LTE base stations will be deployed by China Mobile, compared to 400,000 for China Telecom and 300,000 for China Unicom.
Recently, Ericsson in its latest mobility report said that mobile data traffic doubled between Q4 2011 and Q4 2012. Mobile data traffic grew 28 percent between Q3 and Q4 2012.
Both Apple and Nokia made several attempts last year to grab smartphone market share in China. These include high profile visits of Apple CEO.