50 Percent of Smartphones Sold in China Last Quarter Run Android
The smartphone market in China is growing at an extraordinary rate, largely thanks to Google’s Android OS. Chinese consumers purchased 8 to 10 million smartphones last quarter, up from an estimated 2 to 3 million in the same period last year. And according to Morgan Keegan analyst Tavis McCourt, the bulk of them ran Android.
Interesting, when you consider that prior to 2010, the Chinese smartphone market was ruled largely by Nokia’s Symbian OS and Windows Mobile.
How quickly things change. According to McCourt, Android now represents nearly 50 percent of smartphone volume in the country, up from zero last year. And Apple’s iOS, while a niche player with less than 500,000 iPhones sold last quarter, is ramping up quickly, thanks to the successful launch of the iPhone 4 in the country last month.
“Apple (must be) viewed as somewhat disappointing through Q3:10, but we suspect iPhone 4 and a WiFi-capable iPhone 3GS will substantially improve iPhone results in Q4:10 and beyond in China,” McCourt said in a note to clients. “The bigger picture is that the Chinese market for smartphones is exploding, but is at a much earlier stage of development than North America or Western Europe.”
Which means it’s a major geographic growth opportunity for the smartphone industry. Certainly, Apple views it that way. As COO Tim Cook said during an earnings call earlier this year, “If you look at greater China, which we define as mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, the iPhone units were up year-over-year over nine times. We added another 800 points of distribution in China. The revenue, we have never released this number before but I will do this in this particular case, through the first half of the fiscal year that we just completed, for the six month period, our revenue from greater China was almost $1.3 billion and this is up over 200 percent year-over-year. So we are well pleased with how the company is positioned to take advantage of the growth in greater China.”