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Samsung Keeps Lead Over Apple as Chinese Smartphones Gain Share

A Woman Using Her Mobile Device
A woman is silhouetted as she takes a photograph using her mobile device in front of the sculpture at Cheonggye Stream in Seoul. Samsung continued to lead in total mobile phone shipments in the quarter, which includes the traditional mobile devices used mainly for voice calls or texting. Photographer: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg

Samsung Electronics Co., the world’s largest smartphone maker, kept its lead over Apple Inc. in the fourth quarter, while both lost ground to Chinese vendors, International Data Corp. said.

Samsung accounted for 28.8 percent of global smartphone shipments in the three months ended Dec. 31, down from 29.1 percent a year earlier, Framingham, Massachusetts-based market researcher IDC said in a statement yesterday. Apple’s share fell to 17.9 percent from 20.9 percent.

The two companies maintained their dominance, leading all other manufacturers by double-digit margins, even as Chinese suppliers Huawei Technologies Co. and Lenovo Group Ltd. gained share to finish among the top-five smartphone vendors in 2013. Low-cost devices helped the Chinese makers in emerging markets.

“Cheap devices are not the attractive segment that normally grabs headlines, but IDC data shows this is the portion of the market that is driving volume,” said Ryan Reith, program director for IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. “Markets like China and India are quickly moving toward a point where sub-$150 smartphones are the majority of shipments.”

Huawei’s market share rose to 5.8 percent in the fourth quarter from 4.6 percent a year earlier, IDC said. Lenovo gained to 4.9 percent from 4.1 percent.

South Korea’s LG Electronics Inc. rounded out the top five, boosting its share to 4.6 percent from 3.8 percent.

Total Shipments

Samsung also continued to lead in total mobile phone shipments in the quarter, which includes the traditional mobile devices used mainly for voice calls or texting. The Suwon, South Korea-based company’s share of all mobile phone shipments slipped to 22.9 percent from 23.5 percent, IDC said. It was followed by Nokia Oyj, whose market share declined to 13 percent from 17.8 percent.

Apple ranked third in total mobile-phone shipments with a 10.4 percent share, followed by LG’s 3.8 percent and Huawei’s 3.7 percent, IDC said.

Data released yesterday by Strategy Analytics showed Samsung posting a small gain in smartphone share for the fourth quarter. Like IDC, it also showed Huawei and Lenovo gaining market share and ranking among the world’s top five makers for the full year.

Samsung’s share of smartphone shipments in the fourth quarter rose to 29.6 percent from 29 percent, Strategy Analytics said in a statement.

Apple’s share declined to 17.6 percent from 22 percent while Huawei rose to 5.7 percent from 5 percent, LG gained to 4.5 percent from 4 percent, and Lenovo boosted its share to 4.7 percent from 4.2 percent, according to Strategy Analytics.

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