China accounted for 27 percent of global smartphone shipments in the second quarter of 2012, with 42 million devices shipped in the market, according to analyst firm Canalys. In comparison, the US accounted for 16 percent of the 158 million smartphones shipped during the period.
The Chinese smartphone market grew 199 percent year-on-year and 32 percent compared to the previous quarter.
Canalys said much of the growth in China has been driven by domestic manufacturers, while foreign vendors have struggled to keep pace. Chinese vendors shipped 25.6 million units, a 518 percent growth rate to give them 60 percent of the market. International vendors grew by 67 percent to hit 16.7 million units.
Although Samsung retained its market lead with a 17 percent share, Chinese companies ZTE Lenovo, Huawei have closed the gap in recent quarters, and are second, third and fourth in the market respectively. ZTE experienced 171 percent year-on-year growth, Huawei, 252 percent.and Lenovo, 2,665 percent.
Apple dropped to fifth place with a 102 percent year-on-year increase in shipments but a 37 percent drop compared to the previous quarter.
Canalys research director for China, Nicole Peng, said the rise of tier-one domestic brands is due to their ability to react to market demand and their understanding of local consumer preferences. The companies have also worked hard to improve their relationships with operators.
Peng added that tier-two vendors, such as Oppo, K-Touch and Gionee, have also increased their smartphone shipments by taking advantage of partnerships and brand awareness built up through their feature phone businesses. “These domestic vendors are making significant progress transitioning their portfolios and customer bases to be more focused on smartphones,” she said.
Despite foreign vendors Nokia and Motorola both losing market share, HTC saw its smartphone shipments increase by 389 percent year-on-year to hit 1.8 million units during the quarter. Canalys research analyst Jessica Kwee attributed HTC’s success to the introduction of the China-focused Desire V series.
Canalys also noted that Android has become a major growth driver in China, running on 81 percent of the smartphones shipped in the country in Q2 2012.