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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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Price breakdown
By aliasfox on 4/10/2012 1:29:38 PM , Rating: 2
I'd be interested to see what Android phones are selling. $100 320x240 resistive touchscreen 'shanzhai ping' (I think that's what they're referred to - essentially means 'knockoff goods') often run some flavor of Android, and these likely have a big share of the fat bottom end of the market.

Middle market Chinese brands like Huawei and ZTE have probably taken the market from Nokia as it recedes, and with Apple's only offering here being the 3GS, I can see why nearly three year old hardware might not be doing so well.

The only place where Apple truly tries to compete is the high end, and it would be interesting to see a breakdown of 4 and 4s sales vs Galaxy S2s and Nexuses etc.

Lastly, Apple has yet to close a deal with China Mobile, the largest carrier in China. May also impact sales.

The iPhone ecosystem may be hurting it there as well - as a generalization, Chinese will often attempt to load software obtained through less than kosher means - a little more difficult to do that on iOS.

RE: Price breakdown
By dark matter on 4/11/2012 4:11:54 AM , Rating: 2
"Chinese will often attempt to load software obtained through less than kosher means - a little more difficult to do that on iOS."

Why would a Chinese company attempt to load a knocked off version of Android which is free anyway?

Think before you write.

RE: Price breakdown
By aliasfox on 4/11/2012 9:51:55 AM , Rating: 2
Not Android - apps that you would use on the OS.

iOS: Unless you jailbreak, you have to load through iTunes - hard to get around paying.

Android: Multiple stores and probably countless other ways to load.

Talk about thinking before writing...

"I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For [Paramount] to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks!" -- Movie Director Michael Bay

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