Asia Briefing: Going smart in China’s mobile market
China had 538 million internet users by the end of June and a big chunk of them are using their cellphones to go online
On the move: 102.66 million mobile phones were sold in China in the third quarter of 2013 – a 54.5 per cent increase on the same period last year. photograph: darley shen/reuters
While the mobile phone market seems to have reached saturation point in many markets, China’s love affair with the portable phone remains ardent, as anyone who has taken the subway in Beijing or Shanghai can attest.
China had 538 million internet users by the end of June and a big chunk of them are using their cellphones to go online. The urban commuter in China seems permanently lit up from smartphones as people access Weixin or Wechat, the mobile messaging system, or Weibo, the microblog system that is the Chinese equivalent of Twitter. They watch TV shows like The Walking Dead and they play a lot of video games.
China’s mobile game market is advancing at a furious rate. It was expected revenues from mobile games would reach 9.19 billion yuan (€1.13 billion) this year, a hefty 371.1 per cent rise on 2012, according to data from iResearch.
Research by Analysys International showed 102.66 million mobile phones were sold in China in the third quarter of the year, a 13.6 per cent quarter-on-quarter increase, and 54.5 per cent up on the same period last year. Perhaps unsurprisingly, 93.08 million of the phones were smartphones, up 20.7 per cent on the second quarter and 89.3 per cent year on year.
The share of smartphones on China’s mobile phone market has now reached 90.7 per cent, according to the report.
Top three brands
The top three mobile phone brands in China are Samsung, Lenovo and Coolpad, with market shares of 18.4 per cent, 12.5 per cent and 10 per cent respectively. Apple has about 8 per cent of the market, putting it in fifth place overall. Part of this is down to the fact that Apple has no deal with China Mobile, the country’s biggest mobile carrier, although data shows only 25 per cent of China Mobile’s customers are smartphone users.
Despite this, China is still the third-highest grossing country on the iOS App Store, and “mobile” has become the buzzword du jour in China, whether it be mobile advertising, mobile platforms, mobile payments or mobile commerce.
Samsung is still a tough one to beat, and its smartphone shipments to China rose 156 per cent in the third quarter.