Smartphones In China – An Analysis (Including Tablets)

Smartphones in China – Influence in the Mobile Industry is Growing

Smartphones in China is becoming a big topic in the mobile industry. It is undoubtedly the country with the biggest population in the world, with its population reaching up to 1.35 billion. And from this huge population, Flurry Analytics claims that at least 24% of all the wireless devices in the world have been purchased by Chinese consumers.  According to Flurry Analytics, of the 1.35 billion, at least 260 million are smartphone and tablets. That is a surprising figure coming from a 50 billion-figure of active users in China way back in 2010. That only shows how the Chinese population is so into smartphones and tablets that the rate of mobile usage greatly increased over the last three years.

Chinese mobile market

Nielsen Global Smartphone Insights data also shows that 66% of the mobile user population in China are using smart phones. At least 25% are feature phone users and only 9% of the population use using multimedia phones. This only shows how smart phones are enjoyed and widely used in China.

On the other hand, according to Nielsen Global Smartphone Insights, it is most likely the youth that is into smart phone usage. According to their survey, 82% of the entire smart phone user population is 16 to 24 years old, which only proves that the younger generation enjoys their smart phones more than the older population, with all the applications they can download and use that suit their interests.

Profiling Smartphones in China

Nielsen found out that the Chinese mobile user has value for money paid as their top consideration when choosing a smart phone. The next most important criteria is how effective the operating system is and the variety of applications that they can choose from and download from the market. Lastly, they also consider if the gadget is stylish and easy to use. Of the consumer population, Nielsen also notes that at least 77% are subscribed to a data plan which makes them enjoy their smart phones and tablets more with consistent Internet connection.

The Chinese are also more into using smart phones than using tablets, just like in other countries. In China, iPad users are only 21% percent of the total iOS market. On the other hand, Android tablets are only 4% of the total in the Android market. One possible reason for this is that smart phones are handier and lighter compared to tablets, which tend to be heavy and bulky. Smart phones are easier to bring along anywhere and anytime since they can be kept conveniently inside the pockets. Another reason is that smart phones are considerably more affordable than tablets. This trend is not only reflected in China but in other countries as well.

What Do the Chinese Do With Their Devices?


According to the study made by Nielsen, when it comes to usage of mobile applications, at least 14% of Chinese smart phone users use apps for gaming, 13% use apps for maps and navigation, 12% find applications effective for social networking and checking the weather, 11% use these apps to gather news and watch or download movies and other videos, 10% use smart phones for banking and finance, 9% use them for shopping, and 8% use them for apps connected to productivity.

Given the data above, it is clear that most Chinese users are into gaming, and they download more gaming apps than social networking apps. This is also reflected in the study of Flurry Analytics which says that 56% of the time Chinese users spend on their Android smart phones and tablets is used for gaming. For iOS devices, meanwhile, at least 47% of the time is dedicated to gaming. Compared to US consumers, Chinese are more into gaming, since US smart phone and tablet users spend only 32% of their time in gaming. Browsing social networking sites such as Facebook constitutes 18% of US mobile usage.

Chinese Mobile Device Brand Preferences

You would probably think that it is the two big giants in the mobile industry that dominate the market of smartphones in China. Yes, they are dominating the market with Apple owning at least 35% of market shares, while Samsung is taking up 15%, but neither is truly monopolizing the industry. Neither Apple nor Android has dominated the entire market significantly. In fact, one mobile manufacturer is quietly making its name in China, and that is Xiaomi. Xiaomi is powered by Android and is made in China. Now, it is taking up 6% of the market share, while 44% of the market share is distributed to other Android devices such as Lenovo, Huawei, LG, Motorola, Sony, HTC, ZTE, Sony Ericson, K-Touch and Apec.

The Influence of Chinese Company Xiaomi

Now, the entire mobile industry in anticipating whether Xiaomi can grow bigger and bigger in the market and can keep up with mobile giants such as Apple and Samsung.

“It will be interesting to see if Xiaomi can continue to gain share in China – possibly by mopping up share from smaller manufacturers of Android devices – and also if they can begin making gains in other markets outside of China to become more of a global player,” Even Flurry Analytics’ executive, Mary Ellen Gordon looks forward to it.

There are even rumors that Xiaomi is expanding from manufacturing only smart phones to tablets, which will certainly boost the performance of Xiaomi in the market. This will also prove if the Chinese mobile users are ready to set aside their smart phones and give way to tablets. This will definitely increase the usage of tablets across China.

China Will Play a Role in the Future of the Mobile Market

Chinese Mobile Companies

China is, indeed, a big country and given that it’s large mobile user population means that the mobile industry is doing well. This shows that there is potential in the Chinese mobile industry and companies are very much encouraged to invest. Meanwhile, local manufacturers are encouraged to keep up with the innovation and the competition in the worldwide market, especially now that Xiaomi as a local brand that is is doing well. Who knows? Local mobile brands in China might just take over the market and surpass the demand for giants such as Apple and Samsung.  Xiaomi is definitely one to watch in smart phones and tablet industry.

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