China is likely to ship over 450 million smartphones by 2014, at least 25 percent higher from this year's 360 million, according to research firm IDC. That's significantly higher than initially forecast six months ago, and already nearly hitting its then-target for 2017.
In a study on Wednesday, IDC pointed out the spurt would be driven by the government's issuance of 4G licences and expectations that China Mobile would carry iPhones by then. The improved outlook boosts its 2017 target now to 540 million units.
In the second quarter of 2013, the Chinese market was dominated by Samsung with an 18.5 percent market share, ahead of Lenovo with 9.8 percent. China's Coolpad, ZTE, and Huawei were the others in the top 5. Apple's market share dropped to 5 percent at number six.
"The sharp increase in shipments of low-end China Mobile smartphones has driven the growth of Lenovo and Coolpad. On a separate note, affected by the sluggish sales of iPhone 5, Apple’s market share has declined dramatically, but its performance is expected to remarkably improve with the launch of the new iPhone," said James Yan, senior analyst for China Mobile Phone Market at IDC China.
While Apple's cheaper iPhone 5c has not particularly taken off in China, the iPhone 5s has been attracting buyers with 9 out of 10 choosing one over the 5c.