Photo: Apple via Bloomberg
One of the most popular story lines for Apple bulls is its incredible run of success in China.Sales in the China region were $7.9 billion last quarter, which was up 3X year over year. For the first half of the fiscal year, Apple’s sales were $12.4 billion in the China region, which compares to $13.3 billion the quarter before.
Here’s one reason to be worried about Apple’s long term success in China, though. Android has 70% of the smartphone market versus iOS which only has 17.3%, according to data in a Needham & Company report, picked up at Apple Insider.
There’s good news and bad news in that data.
The obviously bad news first. Apple is way behind Android. Android is making huge leaps in performance and it should be pretty as good as iOS in the next three years. Getting consumers locked into your platform is important. Android’s big lead is helpful.
Further (and we’re mostly guessing on this) Android’s ability to be manipulated and changed to fit carrier and government needs is probably helpful in China.
The good news is that Apple’s situation in China is similar to its situation in the U.S. just a few years ago. It’s not on the biggest carrier yet. Once Apple starts selling the iPhone on a bigger carrier, it should be able to sell even more iPhones in China and take market share.
It’s a hugely popular brand in China. When it started to sell the iPhone 4S, there were riots because people wanted the iPhone. So, the market share number looks bad, but the truth of the matter is Apple is selling as many iPhones as it can in China.
So, it’s a mixed bag. Sales in China are booming. And the company has room to grow, but just like anywhere else, Android is a looming threat.