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China is officially the world’s largest smartphone market. According to data released by Needham & Company, the country has jumped 164 percent to 33.1 million smartphones sold in the past quarter.
The United States sold 25 million units in the same time period, falling behind China. As AppleInsider notes, Needham & Company analyst Charlie Wolf attributes this to China’s competitive smartphone prices. When smartphones first came on the Chinese market, they were priced to compete with feature phones. Having a lower price tag out of the box may have encouraged more people to buy initially.
Market researcher Niko Partners suggests the number of mobile gamers in China will top at 192 million this year, surpassing the number of PC players.
Android squarely beat Apple in China, with 69.5 percent of the market, while Apple sits at 17.3 percent. That still marks significant growth for Apple, which at this time last year only had 9.9 percent of the market. Nokia brings up the rear at 11.2 percent. It’s impressive for Apple to hold the number two spot here, when it doesn’t have access to China’s number one mobile carrier, China Mobile. The operator has not yet adopted the iPhone, although its competitors China Unicom and China Telecom have.
Demand for the iPhone on China Mobile shows, however: The carrier already has over 15 million iPhone users. How? It seems customers of China Mobile are jail-breaking their iPhones specifically to run them on China Mobile.
Apple is reportedly attempting to boost its presence in China with a number of new retail stores as well. Two of these stores were approved by the government in early June, to be located in Chengdu and Shenzhen. Apple’s retail stores worldwide made the company $4.4 billion in the second quarter of 2012 alone, 38 percent more than the year-ago quarter.
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