Apple is facing stiff competition in the second largest mobile market, China, having faced a similar situation in its homeground.
A line-up of Chinese budget smartphones with impressive features is seen as more convenient alternative to pricey iPhones. China's leading carrier, China Mobile has more than 600 million subscribers. In addition this huge market, the world's largest, remains untapped at full potential.
Although Chinese mobile users received the highest amount of smartphones in the third quarter of 2011, 24 million handsets, the demand is not nearly covered. Last year, smartphone penetration on the Chinese market was estimated at 15%. Consequently, Apple will lose a big battle if Android based smartphones with much friendlier price tags take the lead in customers' preference.
As Herman Lai from MICGadget reveals in a report on the top ten Chinese budget smartphones that could kill the iPhone, "Chinese branded smartphones are pretty good in providing enthusiast-class performance on a budget."
Among the most popular Chinese smartphones that have managed to shadow iPhone's popularity are Xiaomi M1 (a dual-core 1.5GHz processor, Adreno 220 graphics and 1GB of RAM and all for $310), Meizu MX (featuring a 4-inch 960 x 640 ASV display, 1.4GHz Samsung Exynos 4210 dual core chip and running on Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread - Flyme and with a price of $475), Meizu M9 (sporting the same 1GHz S5PC110 processor as Samsung Galaxy among other features and for a price of $246).