Smartphone shipments in China reached a record total of nearly 69 million units in the first quarter, a 119% increase from the same quarter a year prior.
Global smartphone shipments hit 216 million, IDC reported last week, which means China has an astounding 32% share of the market, up from 26% in the fourth quarter.
Overall, the global smartphone market showed strong growth in the first quarter. Shipments actually increased between the fourth and first quarters, avoiding the small decline that traditionally happens as sales trend downward following the year-end holiday season.
What’s more, growth accelerated in year-over-year terms. Year-over-year shipments growth was 50% in the first quarter. In the fourth quarter (the last quarter of 2012) year-over-year growth was a more moderate 39%.
Samsung was the largest manufacturer in China shipping 11.7 million units for a 17% share of the market, according to IDC. Lenovo, which had threatened to take the top spot in the fourth quarter, stumbled to shipments of 7.6 million.
Apple, meanwhile, has struggled to compete. The iPhone is still too expensive for a plurality of Chinese consumers.
Unless Apple moves forward with plans to release a low-cost smartphone, it will continue to miss out on smartphone sales in the developing world’s burgeoning markets. Low-cost manufacturers like ZTE, Huawei, Lenovo, China Wireless, and even Samsung will step in to fill the void.
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