Apple Passes ZTE in China Smartphones With IPhone Early Release

Apple Inc. captured fifth place in China’s smartphone market in the third quarter, surpassing ZTE Corp. and Xiaomi Corp., after it included the Asian nation in the latest iPhone’s global debut.

Shipments of the iPhone rose 32 percent year-on-year to hand Apple 6 percent of the country’s smartphone market in the three months ended September, Nicole Peng, the China research director for Canalys, said in a phone interview today. Cupertino, California-based Apple had ranked seventh, with a 5 percent share, in the second quarter, she said.

Samsung Electronics Co. widened its lead after shipments more than doubled to give the Suwon, South Korea-based company a 21 percent share of the world’s largest smartphone market, according to Peng. Apple, which had previously sold the iPhone in China three months or more behind its U.S. release, in September offered the iPhone 5s and lower-cost 5c in China as part of the global debut to give its sagging share a boost.

“In the third quarter, Apple was able to move up in China helped by the fact that the market was part of the first wave of the new iPhone launch,” Peng said. “The impact was pretty big, and that helped them to gain market share and move up in the rankings. For Apple, to continue to move up from here is going to be quite challenging.”

The market data reflects only a little more than a week of sales of the new iPhones during the third quarter, as the devices went on sale Sept. 20. Apple posted a year-on-year drop in share from 8 percent in the third quarter of 2012, Peng said.

Samsung’s market share rose from 14 percent a year earlier, Peng said.

Lenovo Group Ltd., based in Beijing and Morrisville, North Carolina, kept its second place with an unchanged market share of 13 percent, as shipments gained 64 percent, she said.

The Coolpad brand of Shenzhen-based China Wireless Technologies Ltd. held third place with 11 percent share, as shipments gained 85 percent, Peng said.

Huawei Technologies Co. in Shenzhen was fourth maintaining its 9 percent share of the market, after shipments climbed 65 percent, she said.

Xiaomi, based in Beijing, more than tripled shipments from a year earlier to claim the sixth spot, Peng said.

ZTE’s market share was cut in half to 5 percent, from 10 percent a year earlier, dropping the company to seventh place, Peng said. David Dai, a spokesman for Shenzhen-based ZTE, declined to comment on the market share.

“ZTE had a tough time in their product transitional period,” Peng said. “They are trying to raise their brand profile and price segment.”

— With assistance by Edmond Lococo

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