Apple Finally Owns Japan

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Word on the street is that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) needs to do something special to make inroads into markets that are relatively newer for the company. China, Brazil, and India may still hold some mysteries for the iPhone maker, but it appears there is one Asian market the company has finally conquered.

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According to fresh data from Counterpoint Research, Apple sold more handsets in Japan than any other phone manufacturer during the last calendar year, a first for the company. Apple rode high on big demand for the new iPhone 5, beating not only global rival Samsung (SSNLF.PK) but also traditional Japanese top-sellers Sharp and Fujitsu.

Apple’s iPhone accounted for 15 percent of the entire Japanese mobile phone market at the end of the fourth quarter of 2012, and those numbers included feature phones. Sharp — which had been Japan’s top cellphone manufacturer for six years straight — and Fujitsu fell behind Apple for the first time ever, each managing a 14 percent share. Sharp has been facing some financial difficulties over the past few quarters.

Other foreign brands, including Samsung and LG, also increased their respective shares in the fourth quarter of the year, with international companies together accounting for more than 50 percent of the market in Japan for the first time ever…

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