Apple Bows to Samsung in China’s Smartphone Market

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Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is eating Samsung’s dust in the Chinese smartphone market. With Samsung leading the country’s market share by a wide margin, it appears that the iPhone maker’s decision to partner with only one mobile carrier in China is not panning out.

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The iPhone claims 7.5 percent of China’s smartphone sales, while Samsung is lengths ahead with a 24.3 percent share, according to Business Insider, citing a Bloomberg report. These numbers make Apple the fifth most popular smartphone in China, while Samsung is No. 1.

Since 2009, Samsung has used all three major Chinese mobile carriers for its phones including China Unicom (NYSE:CHU) with about 200 million subscribers, China Telecom (NYSE:CHA) with 129 million subscribers and China Mobile (NYSE:CHL) with 655 million subscribers. However, Apple only sells phones through China Unicom.

In a game of catch-up, Apple last week added China Telecom, which is a huge company by western standards, but is still the smallest of China’s top three carriers. China’s leading carrier, China Mobile, is expected to begin selling the iPhone once Apple launches an LTE version sometime before the end of 2012, said Business Insider. There are already an estimated 15 million iPhones in use on China Mobile’s network, even though they weren’t sold by China Mobile.

The addition of China Telecom should help Apple’s market share somewhat, but it’s going to take sales through all three carriers to give Apple a shot at overtaking Samsung to become the top smartphone maker in China.

Here’s how these stocks are trading on the news:

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL): AAPL shares recently traded at $551.18, up $6.01, or 1.1%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $310.50 to $548.21. Volume today was 10,287,301 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 15,584,000 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 15.68, while trailing earnings are $35.14 per share.

China Unicom (Hong Kong) Limited (NYSE:CHU): CHU shares recently traded at $17.74, down $0.6, or 3.27%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $15.30 to $22.50. Volume today was 757,762 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 878,044 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 68.21, while trailing earnings are $0.26 per share.

China Telecom Corp. Ltd. (NYSE:CHA): CHA shares recently traded at $57.58, down $0.56, or 0.96%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $51.41 to $67.97. Volume today was 92,021 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 84,902 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 18.56, while trailing earnings are $3.10 per share.

China Mobile Limited (NYSE:CHL): CHL shares recently traded at $56.18, up $0.83, or 1.5%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $43.51 to $55.69. Volume today was 894,904 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 971,246 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 11.68, while trailing earnings are $4.81 per share.

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To contact the reporter on this story: Gina Smith at staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at editors@wallstcheatsheet.com

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