John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

China at a Smartphone Inflection Point

The billions of dollars China’s wireless carriers invested in 3G network infrastructure a few years back are beginning to pay off — for them and for smartphone manufacturers looking to tap the world’s largest mobile market. Evidently the migration of wireless subscribers from 2G feature phones to 3G smartphones has begun in earnest.

New analysis of the market by Canaccord analyst T. Michael Walkley reveals that China’s wireless carriers posted a 30 percent sequential increase in 3G subscribers from the first quarter of 2011 to the second. In Q1/C2011 there were 61.9 million of them.

And in Q2/C2011? 80.5 million.

Clearly the growth trend here is strong, as the chart at right ably demonstrates. “We believe the 3G smartphone market in China is reaching an inflection point,” Walkley says. “We anticipate … strong growth of 3G subscribers in China will continue, as 3G subscribers account for only 9.1 percent of roughly 883 million Chinese wireless subscribers.”

This, of course, bodes well for any company with a keen interest in China’s smartphone market — especially Apple, which has been particularly vocal about its intentions there. As I’ve noted here before, it’s been estimated that China could represent a revenue opportunity for the iPhone of $8 billion to $9 billion.

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