Apple Fails to Gain A Strong Market Share in China
Apple began iPhone 4S sales in China last week, with its second partner in the country, China Telecom. However, experts still question Apple’s ability to compete locally with its strongest rival in the industry, Samsung. The Korean phone maker currently holds 24.3 percent market share in China, compared to Apple’s 7.5 percent. According to statistics released by Gartner, Apple is the 5th largest phone seller in China and it needs to work to claw its way to the first position. China Mobile is Apple’s best opportunity to access Chinese users, with over 650 million subscribers; it is currently the largest carrier in the world. The failure to form a partnership with China Mobile is Apple’s largest setback in the country, as two Apple’s partners only hold about a third of the market.
Many experts argue that Apple’s exclusivity holds its progress back in some cases. Just like other Android device manufacturers, Samsung has more flexibility in adapting to the local market. China Mobile stated that a partnership with Apple is impossible at this stage as iPhone doesn’t support its TD-SCDMA network. However, others suggest that the assumption that Apple stands no chance in Chinese market is premature. Apple recently promised that it will release an iPhone with LTE support.
In business sense, it is reasonable for Apple to deliver a special iPhone version for China Mobile, which allows the company to access more than half billion of subscribers. Apple faces similar situation in Japan, by making iPhone exclusive to smaller carriers like KDDI and Softbank, Apple is currently at disadvantage against NTT Docomo, the largest carrier in the country.