Apple is emerging as a top smartphone supplier in China, giving China’s Xiaomi a tough fight on its home turf as Apple smartphone sales now account for 25 percent of market share.
iPhone 6 and 6 Plus sales grew 4.5 percent at the start of this year, compared to the same time period in 2014, leading into the Chinese New Year, according to research firm Kantar Worldpanel. Currently, Xiaomi stands right ahead of Apple with a 2.2 percent point advantage.
“Xiaomi had several smartphones in the top 10 chart with the Redmi Note its best selling device and the second most popular product behind the iPhone 6 which has a share of 8.9 percent,” said Tamsin Timpson, strategic insight director at Kantar Worldpanel.
Along with the Android-based Xiaomi’s loss of market, Android also lost its market share in European countries like Germany, Spain and France. However, Android bounced back in the U.S. market with a share of 51.9 percent, with Samsung’s Galaxy S5 holding onto its spot of second-best selling smartphone in the U.S., behind the iPhone 6.
In the Chinese market, Xiaomi reportedly took a big bite off Samsung’s share last year, becoming the best selling mobile phone brand in China. While Apple’s popularity is fast growing among the Chinese consumers, the company recently got cut off the purchasing list of the Chinese government to help promote domestic companies and bolster security measures.
“Pushing out western firms is a proven strategy for bolstering domestic ones, and seems to me to be China’s real motivation, rather than the much-flaunted cybersecurity argument” said Tech In Asia’s Paul Bischoff, adding that this would not be the first time foreign competition was eliminated from China’s market.
The Chinese government officially allowed sales of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus last September after extracting a privacy promise from Apple “that it would never allow any country or government agency backdoor access to its devices or user data.”