Samsung’s market share in the Chinese market is three times larger than Apple’s and still growing, Bloomberg reported on Sunday. The Cupertino-based company recently began to sell its flagship smartphone on the nation’s third largest carrier, China Telecom, in addition China Unicom, which up until recently was the exclusive carrier of the iPhone in China. The new partnership, however, may be too little, too late. “I don’t expect Apple to replace Samsung any time soon,” Gartner analyst Sandy Shen said. “China Telecom is the nation’s smallest carrier, so the extent to which they can help Apple is quite limited.” Read on for more.
Apple’s smartphone market share in the country currently sits at 7.5% compared to Samsung’s commanding 24.3%. The 16.8 point gap between the two companies has nearly doubled since the third quarter, though Apple is still the top smartphone vendor globally by volume. China is a huge market though with smartphone shipments in the country expected to jump 52% to 137 million units in China, overtaking the U.S. for the first time ever as the world’s largest market.
Unlike Apple, Samsung offers its mobile devices on all three major carriers, including the world’s largest carrier, China Mobile. “Having access to more subscribers gives vendors like Samsung an advantage,” said Teck Zhung Wong, a Beijing-based analyst with IDC China. “If Apple is going to continue to grow in the Chinese market, it has to consider very seriously a handset with China Mobile.”
Despite not selling the device, or even supporting 3G speeds with it, China Mobile currently has more than 15 million iPhone users, all of whom purchased the device unlocked.