iPhone 5 fails to boost Apple's market share in China

Lenovo became one of the world's top five smartphone vendors because of high shipments in China

Despite the launch of the iPhone 5 in December in China, Apple's smartphone market share in the nation barely grew during last year's fourth quarter, according to research firm Canalys.

The company remained the sixth largest smartphone vendor, a position it held in the third quarter. Its market share increased to 8.5 percent in China in the fourth quarter, up 0.5 percent from the previous quarter, said Canalys analyst Nicole Peng on Friday.

In contrast, competitor Samsung took the top spot, with a 16 percent market share, followed by Chinese vendors, Lenovo, Yulong Computer Telecommunication Scientific, Huawei and ZTE.

Although Apple's iPhone 5 has been selling well, its impact on the company's market share has been blunted by the booming growth in China's smartphone segment as a whole, Peng said. During the quarter, smartphone shipments reached 65 million units, with the growth driven by low-end handsets, some of which are priced at 500 yuan (US$79).

"The iPhone 5 is doing very well, and you saw for the first time Apple announced it had sold 2 million iPhones in the first weekend of sales in China," Peng said. Quarter-over-quarter, Apple's iPhone shipments to the nation were up 30 percent, she added.

But the company's penetration in the Chinese market is still limited by the absence of a low-priced smartphone in its portfolio of products. Apple has also yet to strike a deal with the country's largest carrier China Mobile to sell its iPhone.

"Apple can only do so much," Peng said. "Lenovo, Huawei, ZTE, their market shares have been supported by low-end models."

China's smartphone market is so large that Lenovo became the world's top five vendor in the fourth quarter on the back of sales in the country. 98 percent of Lenovo's smartphone shipments of 9.5 million phones went to China, according to Canalys.

The Chinese market has been dominated by domestic smartphone vendors. About 70 percent of all sales come from local brands, according to Peng. Foreign vendors such as Nokia, BlackBerry, HTC and Sony, however, have struggled to release devices with a mass-market appeal.

"This market is still wide open, but it's very, very competitive," she added. "It's not just about low-end handsets, but making a product that is successful for the market."

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags HuaweiApplesamsungconsumer electronicssmartphonesZTELenovo

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Michael Kan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?