Samsung Tops Apple & Nokia In China Smartphone Sales

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Samsung smartphones outsold those from rivals Apple, Nokia, and Lenovo in China throughout 2012, allowing the Korean company to claim the biggest share of the Chinese smartphone market, according to the latest report from Strategy Analytics.

Nokia had claimed the top spot in 2011, but the Finnish firm has struggled to compete with Samsung’s Galaxy devices this time around, and couldn’t even make its way into the top five.

With 30.06 million units sold, Samsung grabbed 17.7% of the Chinese smartphone market, while Lenovo came in second after grabbing 13.2%. Apple and the iPhone took third place with 11% of the market, while Huawei and Coolpad bagged 9.9% and 9.7% respectively to take the fourth and fifth spots.

Nokia, who claimed a whopping 29.9% of China’s smartphone sales in 2011, grabbed just 3.7% in 2012, taking seventh place. Samsung’s smartphone sales moved in the opposite direction, increasing from 10.9 million units in 2011. The company’s success has been attributed to brand awareness, and its willingness to cooperate with Chinese operators.

China is the world’s largest smartphone market, but devices like the iPhone have struggled to sell well there due to their price. The average salary is just under $4,000 per year, which makes Apple’s smartphones too expensive. But that could change this year.

Rumor has it the Cupertino company is planning a new low-cost iPhone for China and other emerging markets, which would allow it to claim more market share and compete with companies like Samsung and Lenovo. Samsung, while famous for devices like the Galaxy S III and the Galaxy Note II, has an entire range of smartphones, many of which are affordable and cater to emerging markets.

If Apple’s low-cost iPhone can support China Mobile’s TD-LTE network — which none of the previous iPhones have — then it instantly opens the device up to an additional 700 million customers.

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