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Apple reaches first place in Chinese smartphone market

Apple has successfully taken over Xiaomi as the leading smartphone manufacturer in China, following its blockbuster first quarter performance netting 74 million iPhone sales worldwide (opens in new tab).

It is also the first quarter where the smartphone market has shrunk since 2009. IDC tracked 98.8 million smartphone sales, down four per cent year-on-year, although this could be partly to do with Samsung’s failure in 2014.

The Chinese market is not a feature phone orientated anymore either, IDC claims that most devices sold are smartphones, meaning it will be harder for companies to keep customers loyal and make them buy the successor to a flagship.

In the past 12 months we have seen major change in the Chinese market, with Samsung originally leading, followed by Xiaomi surging ahead and now Apple in first place. Huawei and Lenovo have kept in the top five without too many problems.

Apple obtained a 14.7 per cent market share in the first quarter, Xiaomi one per cent lower with 13.7 per cent, Huawei kept middle of the pack with 11.4 per cent, Samsung came fourth with 9.7 per cent and Lenovo/Motorola fell to the bottom with 8.3 per cent.

Even though Xiaomi is losing ground in its back yard, it has big plans for India after launching the Mi 4i exclusively in the country. Apple has a lacklustre share in the region due to the cheap priced smartphones, compared to Samsung and Micromax.

India could be the next major smartphone market now that China is showing saturation, although the lack of pay per capita means it may take a while before consumers are willing to pay more than £400 for a smartphone.

David has been a technology journalist for over six years, covering a wide range of sectors. He currently researches apps, app sectors and app markets for Business of Apps, and has written for ITProPortal, RTInsights, ReadWrite, and Digital Trends.