Apple and 4G push IDC to raise China smartphone forecast

IDC has increased its forecast on China’s smartphone market with Apple’s anticipated deal with China Mobile one of the triggers for additional growth between now and 2017.

The research firm raised its forecast for smartphone shipments by 2017 from 450 million to 540 million units with new 4G licenses and the Apple and China Mobile tie up key to growth.

“With the issuance of 4G licenses and the launch of Apple's new iPhones by China Mobile, IDC expects China’s smartphone shipments to exceed 450 million in 2014, including 120 million smartphones that would support 4G functions and over 32 million smartphones that would adopt China Mobile’s TD-LTE air interface,” said IDC in a press release.

IDC also released Q2 sales figures for the same market that showed Samsung is still far out in front with 18.3 per cent of the market. Second place went to Lenovo with 12.6 per cent, which meant its market share grew by 28.6 per cent compared with the previous quarter. Impressive growth was also seen at Coolpad with an 11 per cent market share meaning growth of 20.4 per cent with cheaper smartphones helping to drive the two companies on.

"The sharp increase in shipments of low-end China Mobile smartphones has driven the growth of Lenovo and Coolpad," says James Yan, Senior Analyst for China Mobile Phone Market, IDC China.

ZTE saw modest growth give it an 8.8 per cent market share with Huawei the last company in the top five with 8.7 per cent.

When it comes to the country’s mobile OS market, IDC is so confident of the deal between China Mobile and Apple that it thinks iOS will double its market share in 2014 and eat into the huge lead built up by Google’s Android OS.

Apple unveiled the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C in China earlier this month and it gives the company another chance to compete with Samsung and the deal with China Mobile should go a long way to establishing Apple’s presence in the country.

The market for smartphones in China is constantly growing and already represents 20 per cent of global shipments with IDC’s latest figures showing that growth is only going to continue.