iPhone’s Market Share in China Hits 9%, IDC Reports

Recent findings from IDC highlight that Apple’s iPhone has captured a 9 percent slice of the Chinese smartphone market in the first quarter of 2013, positioning it as the fifth most favored smartphone brand in the region, trailing behind Samsung which leads with a 19 percent market share.

At first glance, Apple’s market presence in China might appear modest, but the pace at which iPhone sales are growing significantly outstrips the overall market expansion. Specifically, sales of the iPhone 4 surged by 211 percent, a stark contrast to the 117 percent growth rate of the broader market.

It’s important to note that figures from different research organizations can vary considerably. For instance, a report by Canalys in May 2013 suggested that Apple’s share of the smartphone market was around 8 percent in the first quarter of the year.

According to the IDC report, Samsung has adjusted its strategy in China by shifting its focus from competing with Apple in the high-end segment to consolidating its share in the high-end while also targeting the under $200 market segment, which is predominantly occupied by local brands.

Apple, on the other hand, has been stimulating iPhone 4 shipments through channel incentive policies, thereby broadening its user base.

The report further emphasizes that 47 percent of all smartphones sold under $200 in China are manufactured by Samsung.

Currently, the iPhone is offered by two of the three largest mobile operators in China, with China Mobile being the exception. China Mobile is the world’s largest mobile operator with over 700 million subscribers. Persistent rumors suggest that if Apple were to secure a partnership with China Mobile, it could significantly boost its market share in China.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has expressed optimism about the growth potential in the Chinese market, particularly among first-time smartphone buyers.

During the latest earnings call, Cook mentioned, “China has an unusually large number of potential first-time smartphone buyers, and that’s not lost on us. We’ve seen a significant interest in iPhone 4 there and have recently made it even more affordable to make it even more attractive to those first-time buyers. And so we’re hopeful that will help iPhone sales in future.”

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Tj Luoma

Gary is a dedicated writer for TUAW, bringing a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm for all things Apple. With a keen eye for detail, Gary covers everything from the latest iPhone and iPad releases to in-depth reviews of the MacBook Pro and Apple Watch. His insightful articles help readers navigate the ever-evolving world of Apple technology. Gary’s expertise and clear writing make him a trusted voice in the Apple community.