New data collected by Canalys suggests Apple is currently holding the number five spot in China’s coveted smartphone market. During Q1 of 2013, Apple actually jumped up from the number six spot over the previous quarter, a sign the company is becoming more popular in a country whose market is currently three times larger than the United States’. The data, however, conflicts a report from March that suggested Apple pole-vaulted to China’s third spot for 2012.
Only two foreign companies cracked the top ten: Apple and Samsung. Canalys’s data showed Apple currently holding 8 percent of the Chinese smartphone market, while Samsung more than doubled that with a 20 percent share. Other manufacturers included on the list were Yulong Computer, Huawei and Lenovo, all of which were above Apple, but trailed behind Samsung.
China’s market has seen enormous growth over the last twelve months—last year, shipments in the U.S. and China were pretty much “neck-and-neck,” according to Canalys analyst Nicole Peng, who spoke with ComputerWorld. Today, “China is like a completely different world,” she added. Vendors in China shipped 82 million smartphones compared to just 27 million here in the U.S. during Q1. Leading that charge was China Mobile, which currently has 726 million customers.
Samsung has benefitted most from the growing Chinese market; the company’s Note II and Galaxy S III sold particularly well last quarter. Samsung just unleashed the Galaxy S4, and is planning on an entire family of S4 spin-offs, so the company’s stature will only increase throughout the year.
That being said, Apple is reportedly planning to introduce a budget iPhone sometime this year, a move squarely aimed at overtaking the Chinese market (and other emerging markets). The number five spot certainly isn’t bad considering Apple only releases one handset each year. If the company truly does have a plan for emerging markets, there’s quite clearly plenty of room for growth in the world’s largest market.