Apple’s market share in China is on the decline as local vendors and Samsung continue to gain strongholds in the market. But, if Apple does indeed manage to secure a partnership with China Mobile with its rumored low-cost iPhone 5C, the company could see a huge boost to its market share in the country, according to a new report published by Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty.
Huberty believes the iPhone 5C alone, if priced right, could increase Apple’s share in China by as much as 13 percentage points. The company’s market share in China recently dipped to its lowest point since 2009, according to a recent report from Canalys. Another report from Strategy Analytics in May said Apple had just 8 percent of the smartphone market in China, behind Samsung’s 18.5 percent share. A 13 percentage point boost could put Apple rallying at the top with Samsung. If Apple launches both the iPhone 5S and the iPhone 5C in the country, Huberty estimates its market share could come in at around 36 percent in tier 1-2 cities (major cities) within the next 12 months.
Huberty’s report, which includes a survey of 2,000 consumers in China, found that the device could be successful if priced around $486 off contract, though Morgan Stanley thinks a $399 price target would be better.
China Mobile has not yet offered an iPhone, though it’s the world’s largest wireless carrier with around 750 million customers. A low-cost iPhone could attract consumers away from local brands selling Android-powered devices, though it will need to run on the carrier’s proprietary network (or next generation network). That, in addition to other discussions, was likely one of the primary talking points of Tim Cook’s meetings with China Mobile’s executives.