China's smartphone shipments overtake feature phones earlier than expected

Low-priced smartphones have helped drive handset sales in the country

China's smartphone shipments surpassed those of feature phones for the first time ever during the second quarter, as low-price smartphone devices continued to help drive sales in the country's mobile handset market, according to research firm IDC

The country's mobile phones shipments in the second quarter reached 87 million. Of those shipments, 51 percent, or 44.4 million, were for smartphones, according to data provided by IDC on Friday.

Smartphone shipments were originally forecast to overtake feature phones only by 2013, said Teck Zhung Wong, an analyst with the research firm.

"The market has really exploded," he said. "People are really buying into smartphones and prices have come down quite a lot. Mainly due to lower prices, more devices can be bought at a cheap price, but still perform very well."

Driving most of China's smartphone sales are those priced at 1000 yuan (US$158) and lower, Wong said. At the same time, Chinese retailers are less interested in carrying feature phones, and instead want to sell smartphones.

In the second quarter, Samsung's smartphone market share was the highest at 19 percent, according to IDC.

Apple was China's fourth largest smartphone vendor, with its market share nearly halved down to 10 percent from the first quarter, when the company launched the iPhone 4S in the country.

The decline came in part because of the high number of Apple shipments during the first quarter for the iPhone 4S launch, Wong said. Many customers have also decided to wait for the company's upcoming iPhone 5. At the same time, other consumers have also decided to buy smartphones from competing vendors instead.

Rival devices include those from Lenovo, which had the second largest share in China's smartphone market at 11 percent. Lenovo, which is based in China, is already a familiar brand name among the country's consumers, Wong said.

"They are actually being very aggressive," he added. "They have come out with models at very good prices, with good performance and capabilities. So people are buying."

The growth in China's smartphone shipments comes as mobile handsets have become the number one preferred way for people in the country to log on to the Internet. China has 538 million Internet users, 388 million of which are mobile users, according to the China Internet Network Information Center.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

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

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

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?