Apple and its iPhone own the part of the China smartphone market that actually matters — the highly profitable top shelf. Moreover, while “Android” has a dominant unit share of the China smartphone market, fragmentation effectively nullifies any claim of ownership.

Chinese mobile metrics firm Umeng (via Ben Evans) has published a highly educational inside look at the smartphone market in the Middle Kingdom. While we all know the broad outlines, like that there 700 million active devices, it’s the details that really enlighten:

• There were 700m active smartphones and tablets in China at the end of 2013, and this almost doubled from 380m in Q1
• High-end smartphones account for 27 percent of the total
— 80 percent of those are iPhones
• 55 percent of the top 1,000 apps include links to the major Chinese social platforms
— Apple integrates Chinese social media at the OS level
• App use and game use varies by how expensive the phone is
— High-end game usage (and revenue) are dominated by iPhone
• The Android market remains fragmented
— Samsung has 24 percent (much lower than globally)

In China, high-end smartphones are those selling for $500 or more unsubsidized. Currently, Apple sells the iPhone 5s (from $860), iPhone 5c (from $730) and iPhone 4s (from $535) in China, meaning the company isn’t interested in selling to those that either can’t or won’t afford its products.

The really interesting thing about Apple’s domination of the China smartphone market in 2013? The company wasn’t selling iPhones through China Mobile, far and away the world’s largest wireless carrier, until this year.

What are the people who say Apple is failing in China smoking? If anyone is “losing” in China, it most certainly is Samsung, which has failed to dominate any part of the China smartphone market.

The hottest Android brand in China is Xiaomi smartphone, which run a forked version of Android.

Love ’em or hate ’em, Apple is winning in China…

What’s your take?

Via AppleInsider

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