updated 08:20 am EST, Fri February 17, 2012
iPhone dips in Chinese share pre-4S launch
Region-specific Gartner data has shown that Apple was losing Chinese smartphone market share in the last few months before the local release of the iPhone 4S. Its portion dropped from 10.4 percent in the summer to 7.5 percent in the fall. The company mostly lost its fourth place position to local designer ZTE's 11 percent.
At the top, Samsung had now ousted Nokia from one of its few safe leads, claiming 24.3 percent to under 20 percent for Nokia. The Windows Phone-based Lumia line hasn't reached China, leaving the outgoing Symbian to define the local lineup and possibly suffer at a consequence at the hands of Android.
ZTE's gains, along with a similar rise from fellow Chinese firm Huawei, were credited to local promotion and a wider reach. The two already have a regional advantage. Being on all three major carriers in the country, China Mobile, China Telecom, and China Unicom, gives them significantly wider reach.
Apple is believed to have been facing multiple factors hurting its potential. It most likely faced the same pent up demand for the iPhone 4S that it did elsewhere, with customers holding off until the raucuous iPhone launch in mid-January. The company is also limited to China Unicom for now, and its pricing is comparatively high next to Chinese makers. While an iPhone often has higher performance and build quality, it can cost more than twice as much as a Chinese Android device that for many will be adequate.
Data has yet to emerge from the iPhone 4S launch and won't until April or May. Elsewhere, Apple saw the largest increase in shipments in the iPhone's history, jumping to 37 million and selling almost all of them.