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iPhone remains a prestige item, but Android is boosted by local manufacturers

There is no denying that the Chinese love the iPhone.  Initial sales back in the first couple generations were slow, based on poor pricing, versus nearby neighbor Hong Kong.  But the Chinese market quickly shifted, developing a lust for both the Apple iPad and iPhone.  In this rapidly developing nation -- the world's largest smartphone market -- the pricey iPhone has become a shining status symbol that some would quite literally give an organ for.

And yet in the People's Republic, Android is proving to be the people's phone.  Analysys International reports that Android has risen from 33.6 percent market share (2010) to 65 percent (2011).

That's more than 10 times the 2011 market share of iOS -- 5.7 percent, up from 4.1 percent in 2010.

Apple sees China as a key growth market, largely because of the market's massive size.  China has 988 million total cell phone subscribers -- the most of any nation in the world.  Many of those subscribers have switched to smartphones.

China iPhone 4S
The iPhone is a powerful status symbol in China, but is nowhere near Android in sales.
[Image Source: MIC Gadget]

The fruity gadgetmaker's biggest problem in the Asian market is also its greatest appeal -- its price.  IPhone sales in China tend to be primarily concentrated in the nation's richest cities like the capital city of Beijing or Shanghai, the largest city in the world.

Android handsets, on the other hand are cheap, thanks in part to domestic production from Chinese handset-makers like Huawei and ZTE Corp. (SHE:000063).  The platform's gains came largely at the expense of Finnish phonemaker Nokia Oyj. (HEL:NOK1V) which is still relying on the defunct Symbian smartphone operating system as it makes the transition to Windows Phone.  Once a leader in the Chinese market Nokia's market share was more than halved, settling at 18.7 percent for the year.

Android was the world's top smartphone operating system, by unit sales, in 2011.  However, Apple makes orders of magnitude more profit per handset, and managed to squeak by the top Android phonemaker Samsung Electronics Comp., Ltd. (KS:005930) in global sales, driven by strong American demand.

Source: Reuters



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More freedom and choices will always win.
By konman795 on 4/10/2012 11:20:20 AM , Rating: 1
The reason Android is so ahead in terms of operating system market share is because of the massive number of choices consumers have. You have cheap Android phones for people who don't have or want to spend lots of money for a smartphone and you have really nice high end Android phones which always set the new bar everyone tries to surpass (or catch up to in some cases).

I love it when iOS supporters say there's only a few iPhones and there's like a million Android phones. This is true, but it's not Android's fault that it's open source and sometimes even more capable than iOS, resulting in the higher adoption rate. Apple isn't about freedom or choice hence the closed system and lack of phone choices. One thing they have over everyone is their profit margins and that is impressive.




By ritualm on 4/10/2012 3:57:37 PM , Rating: 2
While less choice is bad, more of it isn't necessarily better (see California's governor race when Arnold the Governator was elected).


"Can anyone tell me what MobileMe is supposed to do?... So why the f*** doesn't it do that?" -- Steve Jobs














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