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Smartphone market in China - Statistics & Facts

Despite the recent slow-down for the constant market growth for years, China has remained the world’s largest smartphone market since 2012. In 2019, smartphone shipments in China reached over 366 million units, accounting for about 27 percent of the total volume of global smartphone shipments. The number of smartphone users in China is projected to reach about 0.78 billion by 2020, while current mobile phone subscriptions as of September 2019 have already reached about 1.6 billion in China. The mobile phone service in China is provided by three domestic telecommunication network operators, namely China Mobile, China Unicom, and China Telecom.

The large smartphone market in China also led to fierce competition among various manufacturers. Apple and Samsung were leading market players since the beginning of the smartphone trend, but had been gradually losing market share to domestic smartphone makers in China like Huawei, Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi. In the third quarter of 2019, while the Chinese domestic brand Huawei ranked first with a shipment volume of about 41.5 million units, the shipment volume of iPhone dropped to approximately 8.1 million units, which was approximately half of the peak of around 17 million five years ago. The Chinese companies have long left the cheap segment and are producing more and more high-end smartphones with considerable success. They benefited from a rich local smartphone manufacturing and design ecosystem, which allows them to compete with foreign smartphone brands.

In terms of operating system market share, the Chinese market was dominated by Google’s Android OS. Together with Apple’s iOS, the two systems occupied about 99 percent of the market by September 2019, while the market share of SymbianOS had almost vanished from 39 percent at the beginning of 2012 to only 0.01 percent by the end of 2016.

The outstanding development of the smartphone market in China is closely associated with the increasing popularity of mobile smartphone usage in the country. The majority of China’s netizens use a smartphone as their primary means of going online. Like the trend worldwide, Chinese are also relying on their smartphone more and more. According to a survey on internet use, the average daily time spent with non-voice mobile activities by adults in China was estimated to reach 150 minutes by 2020.

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Smartphone market in China

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Subscriptions and users

Smartphone shipments and sales

Market shares

Consumer behavior

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