It has been found that Samsung Electronics topped the Chinese smart phone market in 2012 for the first time in its history. According to market research firm Strategy Analytics’ data published on March 10, Samsung Electronics took up 17.7% of the market last year, 5.3 percentage points up from a year earlier, to record the highest market share there.
This is the first time that Samsung, which had started to sell smart phones in China back in 2009, ranked first in terms of smart phone market share in the region. Though the company had penetrated the market with its feature phones earlier, it had never dominated the Chinese market. In 2012, however, Samsung sold 30.6 million units of smart phones in China to almost triple the local sales volume year on year.
Such successful achievement is attributed to the company’s consistent efforts to win the trust of local consumers and build close partnership with Chinese telecom operators. Samsung had set foot in the Chinese mobile phone market in 1999 and has released a variety of products since then to win over Chinese consumers at large. At the same time, its local subsidiary built a telecom research institute to accelerate technological innovation. Samsung Electronics is currently working closely with the three largest local mobile carriers, that is, China Telecom, China Mobile and China Unicom, too.
The result is particularly meaningful in that it beat its archrival Apple and rapidly emerging Chinese handset manufacturers in the world’s largest smart phone market. “Samsung’s smart phones are solidifying their presence in the market and increasing their brand awareness through thorough localization,” said an industry watcher, adding, “Although Chinese mobile phone makers are trying to challenge it, it seems that they still have a far way to go to catch up with it.”
In the meantime, Nokia collapsed whereas Chinese companies enjoyed a strong performance last year in the Chinese smart phone market. The former, whose local market share had reached 29.9% in 2011, fell to the seventh place in 2012 with a share of 3.7%. Meanwhile, Lenovo boosted its market share from 4.0% to 13.2% during the same period to rise to the second spot.
Four more Chinese companies joined the top 10 list: Huawei (fourth, from 8.3% to 9.9%), ZTE (sixth, 8.1% to 8.4%), Xiaomi (ninth, 0.5% to 3.3%) and Tianyu (10th, 0.8% to 2.1%). Apple had posted a share of 12.3% in 2011, just 0.1 percentage point short of Samsung’s, but slid to the third position with 11.0% last year. The others in top 10 were Coolpad (fifth, 9.7%) and HTC (eighth, 3.6%).