Samsung tipped to lead China's mobile phone market

Samsung tipped to lead China's mobile phone market

Summary: Samsung, which is now the world's largest mobile phone supplier, will become China's largest mobile phone supplier in 2012, overtaking Nokia, according to Digitimes Research. It also predicts that smartphones will take almost a third of the handset market, and 70 percent of those will run Android.

TOPICS: Smartphones, China

Samsung is tipped to lead the Chinese mobile phone market in 2012, while Nokia slumps from first to seventh place, according to a report from Taiwan's Digitimes. The research company predicts that handset sales will grow by 9 percent to 430 million units in 2012, compared with 390 million units in 2011. Almost a third of these -- around 143 million units -- will be smartphones.

China is now the world's largest phone market, and Digitimes expects it to account for 20 percent of global Apple iPhone shipments in 2012, or more if China Mobile starts selling the handset.

Although Samsung, from South Korea, and Apple, from the US, will be the market leaders in smartphones, Digitimes expects the four big China-based suppliers -- Huawei, ZTE, Lenovo and Coolpad -- to take the next four places. Including Nokia, the "top seven" will take 85 percent of the market.

China's phone market prediction 2011 vs 2012


Assuming Nokia's slump continues this year, five of the top six suppliers will be selling smartphones running Google's Android operating system. Digitimes expects Android to take 70 percent of the smartphone market, which is similar to figures provided in my 11 July post, Android dominates China's smartphone market. Briefly, Analysys International put Android's market share at 76.6 percent in the first quarter of this year, while Needham & Company put it at 69.5 percent for the second quarter.

The emergence of dominant brands is probably not good news for the large number of mobile phone suppliers who, according China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), have launched 2,099 new phone models over the past six months, including 822 smartphone models.

In China smartphone market 2012: Trends and analysis, Digitimes says: "the many other brands hoping to seize a share of the market will essentially be confined to competing for a potential market of just 15 percent of overall shipments or around 21 million handsets. Given such a situation, Digitimes Research projects that many of China's best known smaller brands such as Xiaomi, TCL, Gionee, Tianyu, Oppo and BBK will see shipments of no more than a few million handsets."


Topics: Smartphones, China

Jack Schofield

About Jack Schofield

Jack Schofield spent the 1970s editing photography magazines before becoming editor of an early UK computer magazine, Practical Computing. In 1983, he started writing a weekly computer column for the Guardian, and joined the staff to launch the newspaper's weekly computer supplement in 1985. This section launched the Guardian’s first website and, in 2001, its first real blog. When the printed section was dropped after 25 years and a couple of reincarnations, he felt it was a time for a change....

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • The graph is wrong

    It says that Apple's share in China slightly declined over the year, while in reality it increased twice thanks to iPhone 4S release and addition of big cellular network operator.
    • Is it?

      The one i'm looking at shows 2012 about twice 2011.
      • Yes, I have read the graph wrongly

        Thanks for mentioning.
  • A funny observation

    Jack's bio is nearly as long as his article.
    • Too true!

      Yes, sorry, it wasn't supposed to be there and I don't have the access required to cut it. However, it will be reduced soooooon ;-)
      Jack Schofield
  • A funny observation

    Jack's bio is nearly as long as his article.
  • A funny observation

    Jack's bio is nearly as long as his article.
  • Samsung tipped to lead China's mobile phone market

    this is due to the stupidity of nokia's current ceo. in the next ten years china and india will become the world's biggest markets, and nokia had a foothold in both nascent markets before elop destroyed the company. now, it is up to samsung to fill the gap and take over the market...
    • Who's he working for, anyway

      For those who don't know the story, China Mobile -- the largest carrier with 600 million subscribers -- was working with Nokia on a series of MeeGo phones for the Chinese market.

      When Elop tossed MeeGo over the side, China Mobile tossed Nokia over the side. Six hundred million subscribers, sacrificed on the altar of Windows Phone.

      The Softies will tell you that MeeGo would have flopped, and we know that because it flopped. But now you also know that it was thisssssClose to being the preferred OS of China's largest carrier. And Nokia would have been the preferred hardware vendor. You have to ask: in whose interest was it to abandon the Chinese market for the purpose of holding back MeeGo? Nokia's? Or the other guys?
      Robert Hahn
      • A certain company in Redmond

        I couldn't agree with you more Robert. After reading Tomi Ahonen's blog of July 6th, I've changed my purchasing focus. I've loved my Nokia, but I don't think the company will be around long enough to support my next phone purchase.