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Android achieves liftoff in the world's biggest market

April 11, 2012
android china liftoff

If there was still anyone that doubted Android’s booming success in the global smartphone market, the most recent report from Analysis International should once and for all establish the mobile operating system’s dominance. According to said report, Google’s Android operating system is the most popular smartphone platform in China, leading the race against Symbian and iOS with an almost unbelievable 68.4% sales share in Q4 2011.

With a population of around 1.3 billion and an estimated 990 million mobile phone subscribers, China is the world’s largest mobile phone market, so you can imagine this latest report will come as one of the best news that the Android received in a while.

From 33.6% market share in Q1 2011, Google’s OS has more than doubled its reach in less than 12 months, leaping to 68.4% of all smartphone sales in China during last year’s final quarter.

Taking a look at the chart below, we can notice Android’s market share growing progressively throughout 2011, from 33.6% to 46.8, then to 58.2, and, finally, from 58.2 to 68.4 at the end of 2011. As you might imagine, it’s not easy to satisfy this growing appetite for  technology, especially considering the fact that the Chinese consumers have become very pretentious as of late, being interested first and foremost in the quality to price ratio of a product.

On the other hand, we must admit that, while Android’s growing success in China is mostly due to the Google-powered gadgets’ increasing reliability and good quality-price ratio, another aspect has played an important role here. I am talking of course about the decline of Symbian, Nokia’s mobile operating system that is headed to the dustbin in the near future.

Symbian started 2011 as the leader of the Chinese market, with 42.5% sales share in the first quarter, but dropped to less than half of that figure by the end of last year. With 18.7% of sales in Q4 2011, Symbian managed to keep hold of second place, outpacing by far Apple’s iOS, which only powered 5.7% of all smartphones sold in China in 2011’s last three months.

The iPhone grew significantly in sales between the first and second quarter of 2011, but then registered an important decline between July and September, managing to pretty much stay put for the next three months, at just below 6% of the total sales number.

Getting back to Android, it has to be said that its spectacular performance in China is not that surprising. What I do find surprising, if not downright shocking, is the the huge gap in sales between Android and Apple’s iOS. I mean, pretty much every market in the world is dominated by Android right now, but the difference in China has been in 2011’s last quarter of more than 60 percentage points.

That’s impressive as heck, so hats off to Google and all the companies manufacturing and selling Android-based smartphones in China!