China’s bid to for world domination in all things mobile took another step in the last quarter as smartphone shipments leapt 199 per cent from the same period last year and now account for more than a quarter of the global total, according to Canalys.
The analyst’s final Q2 2012 country-level shipment estimates reveal that 42 million smartphones were shipped into the channel in the People’s Republic – that’s 27 per cent of the global figure, some way higher than the US with 16 per cent.
This roughly tallies with official government figures which said that 195 million mobiles were shipped in the first half of the year, with 48 per cent of those smartphones.
According to the Ministry of Industry and IT, smartphone sales have no overtaken feature phones for the first time in China, although with over one billion mobile subscribers, there is still a massive potential market for smartphone handset makers.
Gartner, for example, conservatively estimates installed user base will still only reach 20 per cent in China by 2015.
It will be the budget end that really thrives, as users look to trade in their old feature phones and local tier one and tier two vendors are already capitalising with their predominantly Android-based handsets.
This may well account for the strong performance of Chinese firms ZTE, Lenovo and Huawei in the previous quarter. Canalys placed them in second, third and fourth achieving huge year-on-year growth of 171 per cent, 2,665 per cent and 252 per cent respectively.
Samsung remained in top spot with a 17 per cent market share although volumes dropped slightly, while Apple languished in fifth although shipments were up 100 per cent from 2011.
The surprise of the quarter was HTC, which, despite being forced out of the South Korean market recently, grew its shipments 389 per cent year-on-year to reach 1.8m units for the quarter.
“Its success this quarter is heavily based on the strong performance of Desire V series devices, designed with the local China market in mind, underscoring the importance of tailoring propositions to local consumer preferences,” said Canalys research analyst, Jessica Kwee. ®