updated 10:48 pm EST, Tue February 18, 2014
Recent release of iPhone 5 lineup prompts one percent rise
Apple is now the fifth-largest cellphone maker in China, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal based on numbers from analyst firm IDC. The iPhone maker leapt a full percentage point in the last quarter of 2013 on the strength of its iPhone 5s and 5c, and the report does not even include sales from China Mobile, with which Apple finally inked a deal in December. The surge in sales moved the iPhone into a seven percent share of the smartphone market.
Samsung continues to dominate in China, where an array of Android models combined to give the Korean company 19 percent of the smartphone market, followed by local maker Lenovo with 13 percent, and Coolpad with 11 percent. Fourth-place Huawei edged out Apple with a 10 percent share, leaving the Cupertino company to round out the top five.
China revenue accounted for about 14.6 percent of Apple's total revenue in the holiday quarter, and was up 29 percent from the year prior. Figures later this year will reveal how much impact the China Mobile deal is likely to have on the total iPhone sales metric. The China market is increasingly important to Apple due to its growth potential: China Mobile alone has 140 million existing 3G subscribers, and analysts believe that Apple could add as many as 15 million iPhones to its normal amount in China just from that pool alone before 2014 ends.
As the majority of China Mobile's customers slowly make the switch from feature phones to smartphones, the potential for future success is much larger: currently, China Mobile is thought to have nearly 800 million users, and is already the fastest-growing market Apple serves.