Android was used on 90% of the smartphones in China during the third quarter of 2012 with Apple iOS falling to around 4.2% marketshare, according to new market research figures.
The Analysis International figures, republished by The Next Web, reveal that Android device sales have skyrocketed to 90.1% of the market, up from 82.8% during the second quarter and 58.2% for the same quarter last year. The news is bittersweet for Google, however, with many of its services currently blocked by the Chinese government.
In contrast, iOS has crumbled to 4.2% marketshare, down from 6% the previous quarter and 5.8% for the same quarter last year.
The big shift has been away from Symbian, which has collapsed to just 2.4% of the market, from 23.3% year-on-year. In worrying news for Nokia, Windows Phone, along with Research in Motion’s BlackBerry, claims a statistically insignificant share of the Chinese market.
The market research also confirms that the largest growth area for Android in China is in low-end smartphones rather than premium handsets such as the Galaxy S3, with the average outright price for Android handsets coming in at $US233 and Symbian at $US179, compared to iOS at $US726.
Interestingly, there appears to be a methodological difference between the Analysis International figures and the Canalysis vendor marketshare figures published by SmartCompany earlier this month, which showed Apple as a vendor is holding 8% marketshare rather than 4.2% for iOS. The difference might be accounted for by the fact that Canalysis examined product shipments, while Analysis International examined both shipments and estimated usage, suggesting that owners of low-end Android smartphones hold on to their devices longer than Apple owners.
The Canalysis figures showed Samsung has retained its position as China’s largest smartphone vendor with around 14% of shipments, followed by Lenovo (13%), Yulong Computer Telecommunication Scientific/Coolpad, ZTE and Huawei (around 10% each), with Apple sixth with 8% marketshare.
China is an important smartphone market because, as SmartCompany reported in May, it has overtaken the US as the world’s largest market for smartphones. The country accounts for 50 million smartphone sales a quarter, representing more than a quarter of the 181.1 million smartphones sold worldwide during the third quarter of 2012.