The iPhone 4S launched this past January in China, and has led the country to surge past the United States to become the largest smartphone market in the world. This just shows how important China is to Apple, as the launch of a single device changed the entire complexion of the smartphone market.
Before the iPhone 4S launched, the United States had a total of 22 percent of the world smartphone market, while China had 16 percent. Those positions have flipped, with the United States now holding 16 percent and China 22 percent.
In the last year, smartphone shipments in the U.S. rose just 5 percent, while those in China have actually doubled.
Clearly, the smartphone market is shifting, and this is further emphasized by that fact that of the top 10 smartphone markets in the world, half of them are located in the Asia-Pacific area.
Of course, it is not only Apple that is responsible for China’s massive smartphone growth. Samsung shipped 22 percent of the smartphones sold in China, while Apple shipped a respectable 19 percent. Still, according to Apple CEO Tim Cook, iPhone sales in China were five times higher this year than last year, which is incredible growth in a short time.
It should come as no surprise that China passed the U.S. just based on their large population. Still, the impressive part is how quickly Apple has exploded into that market and made a tremendous impact.