It should not be a surprise to anybody at this point that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is looking to grow its smartphone market share in China in the years to come. CEO Tim Cook has discussed the possibility of this being the company’s largest market in the future, and there is no reason to believe that he has changed his outlook.
Does this mean Apple is dominating in China and looking for more? Definitely not. While Cupertino has had good success in the country thus far, it is far from the only player in the market. In fact, when you look at the numbers in terms of market share, there are four companies that are ahead of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) at the current time.
Cupertino has a lot of ground to make up, but the company appears poised to do so in the near future.
According to a recent study by IDC, China’s smartphone shipments are expected to grow six percent year over year and surpass 460 million units by 2017. With numbers like these, there is no wondering why Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), along with many other companies, are hoping to become more involved in this market.
Here is some more information from the study, showing where Apple stands today:
“In Q1 2013, Apple ranked the fifth with a market share of 9% and a link relative ratio of 21%. The shipments of iPhone4 (8G), which is an excellent performer, grew by 211% over the previous quarter.”
As you can see, Apple may be in fifth place overall in terms of market share but the company is pushing forward at an incredible pace. When you consider the fact that shipments of the iPhone 4 grew by 211 percent over the previous quarter, it is easy to see that consumers in China are beginning to take Cupertino seriously as a major player.
Antonio Wang, Associate Director of Computing Systems Research Group of IDC China, added the following:
“In China’s smartphone market, Samsung has switched its marketing focus from competing with Apple for high-end market to maintaining its high-end market share, and is starting to strive for market for products under USD 200, which has so far been dominated by domestic brands. However, Apple leverages the incentive policies for channels to inspire the shipments of iPhone4, further expanding its user base.”
The question now is simple: will Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) take a page out of Samsung’s book and roll out a cheaper smartphone sooner rather than later? This rumor has been going strong as of late, however, Cupertino is not saying much.
Check out the graph on the next page for a better idea of the expected growth in China through 2017, by air interface.