China overtakes the US to become world’s largest smartphone market

Canalys, an analysis and consulting services company, today released to clients its detailed smart phone shipment estimates by country for Q1 2012. In the release, the company found that total shipments in smartphones worldwide grew 45 percent year on year to 146 million units. The most significant part of the stats were the differences in country and region.

The way the numbers break down, the United States showed only moderate growth (5 percent year-on-year), while markets in the Asia Pacific region exploded to an 81 percent spirt. Shipments in China doubled and overtook those in the United States for the first time, bringing in 22 percent of global smartphone shipments compared to the United States’ 16 percent.

The analysis firm also found another striking tidbit, which is two-thirds of the smart phones shipping in China in the first quarter were based on Android and more than a quarter of all Android smart phone shipments globally are in China. Wow. The company did mention the absence of the Google Play store being a hinderance.

“Third-party app stores are ubiquitous on Android devices in China, to a degree not seen anywhere else in the world. The absence of the Google Play store as standard is a factor, but vendors targeting this market must understand the intensity of competition between these stores and how it has promoted innovation,” said Tim Shepherd, Senior Analyst at Canalys.

These findings shed some light to why manufacturers are going crazy when it comes to penetrating the Chinese market, as the potential of growth is almost endless. After all, it is over a billion people there.

[via canalys; image from Newlaunches]

  • Glad you reported this to add balance. Somehow a lot of tech stories are disconnected from the real world and only focus on local figures which kind of shows us that the internet is actually smaller because we don’t get to hear the whole truth

  • steve doumas

    Dont usually comment onthiese stories but-what di**heads. Predominate amount of phones sold were Android and yet your main pic is Iphone for the story. Def and Apple-sniffer

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