China Bypasses U.S., Becomes World’s Top Smartphone Market

Posted by · November 23, 2011 11:06 am

Although the United States is still the world’s undisputed consumption leader, it seems the long-time reigning champion may have some healthy competition in the not-too-distant future. According to a press release from Strategy Analytics, smartphone shipments to China in Q3 outnumbered those made to the U.S. by one million devices. That’s a jump of 58 percent over the previous quarter for America’s transpacific neighbor.

“China has overtaken the United States for the first time to become the world’s largest smartphone market by volume,” the report declared.

The cause of this historic shift? The report attributes much of the spike to a combination of factors. First, while the Chinese market saw a surge in demand, the United States saw a drop-off of 7 percent. To make matters worse—at least for the U.S.—Chinese companies such as ZTE have found ways to produce cheaper, Android-based devices that make these coveted gadgets more widely available to consumers. Finally, recent increases in the subsidization of high-end phones such as the iPhone have given the People’s Republic yet another advantage.

If it’s any consolation to the U.S., though, Neil Mawston, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics, added, “The United States remains the worlds’ largest smartphone market by revenue, but China has overtaken the United States in terms of volume.”

However, “China is now at the forefront of the worldwide mobile computing boom,” Mawston continued. “China has become a large and growing smartphone market that hardware vendor, component maker or content developer can afford to ignore.”