HONG KONG/BEIJING, Feb 17 (Reuters) – Apple Inc’s share of China’s smartphone market slipped for a secondstraight quarter in the fourth quarter of 2011 amid competitionfrom Chinese vendors and as some consumers delayed purchases towait for the iPhone 4S launch.
China has not been an easy market for Apple, with the UStechnology giant grappling with a lawsuit from a Chinese companyover the iPad name and issues at its suppliers’ factories overwages and working conditions.
In the world’s largest mobile phone market, where the numberof subscribers is set to hit 1 billion this year, there is keencompetition from vendors such as South Korea’s SamsungElectronics Co Ltd, and domestic players HuaweiTechnologies Co Ltd and ZTE Corp .
“Chinese handset makers have been actively promoting theirsmartphones with China’s three telecommunications operators, sowe saw ZTE and Huawei gain significant market share,” saidTaipei based analyst CK Lu at research firm Gartner.
Apple’s market share fell to 7.5 percent in the fourthquarter of 2011, from 10.4 percent in the previous three months.
Revenue per online marketing customer for the fourth quarter 2011 was approximately RMB14,400 ($2,288), a 61.8% increase from the corresponding period in 2010 and a 5.1% increase from the previous quarter.
Huawei’s share rose to 12.6 percent, while ZTE’s was up at 11.1percent, Gartner data showed.
Samsung displaced Nokia Oyj as the top smartphonevendor in China during the fourth quarter, data obtained byReuters showed.
China Unicom , the country’s No.2 telecomsoperator, is the only carrier to officially carry the iPhone.
The market expects the third and smallest operator ChinaTelecom Corp Ltd to be next to clinch a similar dealwith Apple later this year.
Naomi Harris is a business journalist based in Darwin, Australia. Naomi has a passion for financial markets and breaking news stories and loves writing about business news, stock market, and economic opinions that matters most to its audience. Naomi spends a lot of time discovering and researching latest financial markets and industry news stories in order to make sure the latest and greatest stories are brought to you first on BigBoardNews.com.