IDC: Apple Grew in China During Q4

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Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) seems to have gained some smartphone market share in China in the fourth-quarter of 2013, according to data from IDC seen by the Wall Street Journal. The research firm found that Apple’s market share in the country rose from 6 percent during the third quarter to 7 percent in the fourth quarter, placing it in fifth place overall on the Chinese market.

Apple, of course, is hoping that its recent deal with the world’s largest wireless carrier by consumers, China Mobile (NYSE:CHL), will boost its share in the world’s largest smartphone market even further. Apple’s iPhone became available for consumers through China Mobile last month.

China’s market is still dominated by Apple’s rival Samsung (SSNLF.PK), which makes smartphones at various price points and holds a 19 percent share. After Samsung comes low-end Chinese vendors Lenovo (LNVGY.PK), Coolpad, and Huawei. Cheap smartphones running on Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android operating system have proven to be the most popular in China and other emerging markets where fewer consumers can afford one of Apple’s expensive devices.

IDC also found that China’s smartphone market growth has been affected by increasing saturation. China’s smartphone market overall grew 63.6 percent during 2013, but the firm predicted that figure would shrink to just 19.8 percent during 2014. “China’s smartphone market will remain relatively high growth in 2014, but its growth rate will drop dramatically compared with the 63.6 percent growth rate in 2013,” says James Yan, Senior Analyst of Client System Research, IDC China.

Apple will likely see a further boost from the China Mobile deal, which may convince some Android users to switch to an iPhone as China continues to build out its 4G network. Apple will likely see more market share gains from wealthier consumers who may already have smartphones than from consumers in rural areas and small cities who haven’t yet purchased a smartphone.

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