There will be a lot more iPhones, Samsungs and HTCs floating about as China’s insatiable hunger for smarties continues.
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|Red man: Local players are even making their own China version of Android|
By 2017 there will be close to 2 billion (1.7bn) smartphones shipped, new figures today reveal.
China and the other BRIC’s; India Brazil and Russia, along with Indonesia, will fuel future demand as their vast populations go gung-ho for iPhones, Androids and the clever things they can do.
450 m smartphones were sold globally in 2011 alone, 160m or over one in three were sold in ’emerging’ markets.
Smartphones are drastically coming down in price (entry-level can now be bought for around $100), meaning developing countries who still have a love affair with Nokia, LG and Samsung ‘dumb’ phones can afford to upgrade.
China alone accounted for the vast majority of this ’emerging’ demand (66%).
Apple boss Tim Cook has already said China is its more important market outside the US, despite the iPhone only recently being stocked by some of the top carriers there. And let’s not forget the ultimate chaos every time a new Apple device is released there (think near- riots, damaged Apple Stores, colossal queues).
And globally, smartphones like the iPhone, Samsung Galaxy and BlackBerry will account for almost 60% of all mobiles shipped in 5 years time – up from less than one third at present.
Samsung and Nokia are the world’s No.1 and 2 phone maker (with around 50% of the market between them) as they ship buckets of dumb phones, so whether they can keep that position as more and more of these users switch to smarties has yet to be seen.
However, Samsung’s Galaxy line is one of the world’s most popular smart devices and Nokia is still looking to get a firm foothold in the market, recently releasing some Windows 8 phones which it hopes will do the business.
However, its not just Apple and Co who are driving the smartphone market – local players ZTE, Huawei, Baidu and Alibaba are also getting in on the act, the latter two in particular creating their own version of Android software and “essentially replacing Google in the process,” says Ovum.
“China is at the center of smartphone development and adoption in emerging markets, with the whole ecosystem increasingly geared toward the production of ever-more feature-rich affordable devices” says Shiv Putcha, Ovum Analyst.
“Virtually all of these [Chinese] players are using Android, but some of them are going a step further and customizing Android to offer their own user interfaces, icons, and services, essentially replacing Google in the process.”
Online services ran from the cloud, storage, touch and tap money transactions – done via Near Field Communications – are all big news in China.
However, carriers are getting in the way and carrier subsidies for smartphones, unlike here in Australia and elsewhere, are still uncommon, which has hampered smartphone adoption, Ovum notes.