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What company is the 'Apple of China'? This moniker is coveted by smartphone manufacturers for obvious reasons: China is the largest smartphone market of any single country and it could expand in the future. But which company is the 'Apple of China'? Let's take a look at who can claim the title.

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Who is the Apple of China? Is it Apple itself? / © ANDROIDPIT

Contestant 1: Huawei

Huawei has steadily made strides in the global market, doubling its share of smartphone sales worldwide from 2012-2015. It outperforms its Chinese counterparts worldwide, but domestic sales are another story.

Huawei's sales in the Chinese smartphone market have steadily increased from 2013-2015 moving from 9.3 percent to a share of 14.5 percent in 2015. This is impressive and no doubt speaks to the strength of the manufacturer and Huawei devices. 

Huawei's sales outshines both Samsung and Apple in the Chinese smartphone market and Huawei continues to make inroads in the market. There are arguments for Huawei becoming the 'Apple of China' in the future and it's certainly close but is not quite there yet.

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Huawei continues to make improvements and is expanding its market share. / © ANDROIDPIT

Contestant 2: Xiaomi

Xiaomi has really made a name for itself this year. It's offering its flagship smartphone with powerful specs at a low price. The global smartphone market has responded with Xiaomi taking up 5.6 percent of worldwide sales in 2015, that's quadrupled since 2013.

Xiaomi's real power has been in the regional market of East Asia, especially China. Xiaomi has tripled its Chinese market share from 2013 to 2015 to 15 percent. That's the highest market share of any smartphone manufacturer in China since we've had a full year to gather data. 

Xiaomi is the 'Apple of China'. Xiaomi makes sexy devices with top-notch specs at cut-rate prices. It dominates the Chinese market and if the Supreme Court in the US rules against Apple we could see it overtake Apple in its backyard.

AndroidPIT Xiaomi Mi 5 tips and tricks 0264
Xiaomi is the 'Apple of China' and could overtake Apple in other markets. / © ANDROIDPIT

Contestant 3: Apple

Who is better to be the 'Apple of China' than Apple itself? It's in the name, right. Well the name 'Apple of China' name comes from the US market where Apple enjoyed a 40 percent share of that smartphone market as of last year. But that does not mean Apple is as successful in China.

We've seen a resurgence of Apple in China. Apple moved from 8.8 percent of the market share back in 2014 to 13.4 percent last year. The successes of the iPhone 6 were felt across many markets and China was no different.

While Apple has some market advantages in the US, it does not have them in China. Apple is allowed to bully its competition in the courts in the US while it's not able to in China. This keeps other competitors in the race with Apple and Chinese manufacturers are making better devices at lower prices. Apple is not the 'Apple of China' now nor will it be in the future.

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Apple cannot compete as well in the Chinese market as it does in the US. / © ANDROIDPIT

Contestant 4: Samsung

Samsung looks a day late and a dollar short. For years it occupied the pole position for the race to be the 'Apple of China'. It still held its claim to the title back in 2013 when it had the largest market share, beating its closest competitor – Lenovo – by 6.8 percent.

But in 2014 Samsung was eclipsed by Xiaomi and was completely buried in the Chinese market in 2015. While other manufacturers saw their market share double, Samsung dropped. Chinese manufacturers started taking up more of the share at cheaper prices while Apple saw a resurgence (we will discuss both below). 

Samsung is not completely out of the race though. We've seen some promising premium devices this year with the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge that compete with Apple directly and in my opinion outshine iPhones. Could we see a resurgence of Samsung in the Chinese market? It's possible but right now Samsung is not the 'Apple of China'.

AndroidPIT galaxy s7 vs galaxy s7 edge 8
With the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge we could see a resurgence of Samung in the Chinese market. / © ANDROIDPIT

What do you think, who is the 'Apple of China'? Is there another in the future? 


Write new comment:
  • CJ Brown 5 months ago Link to comment

    I will take an Huawei or Xiaomi vs an Apple regardless -- but I'm picking up the LG Stylo 2 because it's already available in North America through Cricket Wireless --

  • Hilko R. 5 months ago Link to comment

    compared based on price: Mi5 by 50% or 60-70% even compared to all others.
    compared based on 'pure' experience: iPhone is of course pure, Mi5 is I think least pure.
    compared based on specs: it's all the same. Mi5 is the only Quick Charge 3.0 certified phone, so has a small edge over dhe QC 2.0 phones. the differences in specs are minimal and really come down to personal preference (small/bigger screens, higher resolution, bigger battery, etc etc). For me the winner is the Mi5 since it doesnt have a stupidly high resolution, which only takes battery and does not improve the user experience. iPhone has definitely least good specs
    compared based on camera quality: hard to say. many variables come in to play. the S7 and P9 seem to offer the best, based on all the various reviews that can be found around the interwebs, Mi5 is mediocre due to average low-light photo quality, iPhone is one of the worst.

    for me, my favorite is the Mi5.

  • Huawei

  • Android certainly seems to be in demand!

  • if any company can do China in the way of iPhone sales I'd bet on Huawei any day, but not only China they seem to be going global in a almost Western way, with some very sophisticated marketing, I can see them taking Samsung on and winning in a few years...

  • It's a close call between Xiaomi and Huawei.
    But the reason I prefer Huawei is :
    1. That they've been better recently with updates. On the other hand, Xiaomi continues to update the MIUI ROM consistently but not the Android version. If you're a person who can live with older software version, go for Xiaomi.
    2. Xiaomi has started locking it's bootloader in the recently released devices, so if you like me, like to install custom ROMs, go for Huawei.
    3. I live in Delhi, India and Xiaomi and Huawei both sell their products online. But I may be actually able to find a service center for Huawei than Xiaomi.
    4. I actually like Huawei's design language, I recently purchased the Honor 5X and the design of this thing is amazing. I don't find this with Xiaomi.

    P.S. Huawei's and Xiaomi's iOS inspired ROMs are actually good. If you use them, they're good with ample functionality.

    • Cory Schmidt
      • Admin
      • Staff
      5 months ago Link to comment

      Thank you for the comment Kunal. You make some excellent points here. Something that wasn't addressed in the article that you rightly brought up is the newest major smartphone market on the horizon: the Indian market. Since Xiaomi decided to make the logical choice and expand to India, it needs to provide great customer service or it could have some problems. I'm waiting to see how things go by 2017 to really get a good sense of how it's doing.

      • Okay, so here is what's interesting.
        1. Xiaomi, which never does any kind of ads, has started to feel the pressure from Vivo and Oppo in the marketing department. Vivo and Oppo have put up ads consistently in the Indian market and their devices are even available offline. Their brand presence has increased. Xiaomi only sells online but that could change in the future.
        2. Xiaomi, now, has partnered up with Amazon India to bring up it's first television ad for the Xiaomi Redmi Note 3.
        3. Xiaomi has even bought advertising space in national dailies to promote their products. So, if anyone is telling you that Xiaomi sells their product by word of mouth, they are wrong.
        4. Samsung is the undisputed leader in the Indian market, in the entry segment, mid range segment, even in the flagship segment.
        5.Half of the people don't know what Apple is, but they may know about the iPhone.
        6. Coming back to Huawei, they have ZERO marketing in India (I'm not kidding) they don't enjoy the brand presence in India, like they do worldwide, but I still love their products.
        7. With Smartphone markets now reaching saturation in US, Europe and even China, manufacturers will now turn to India because the market is still growing and has lots of potential, so if you read articles about excellent devices being released in the Indian market, don't get jealous, Lol.

        P.S. Every device here in India is sold unlocked and we can change carriers whenever we want.

  • Alex R. 5 months ago Link to comment

    Why would have any company be apple??why can't be is going superior to apple and ur still feeding an apple!

    • Cory Schmidt
      • Admin
      • Staff
      5 months ago Link to comment

      I think you're right here and maybe in the future we could be talking about the 'Samsung of Country A' but the moniker 'Apple of China' comes from Apple's higher market share in the US market. So the 'Apple of China' is just the company that performs the best in the Chinese market.

    • I know the subject hurts Apple haters but think of this "has any other company made their own OS and made profits".
      So, there is no shame if any company is compared with Apple... I would respect Microsoft mobile OS than any of these skin makers on top of Android... so the moniker can be used whatever the way you want.... :)

  • Mark 5 months ago Link to comment

    I really don't get this article. Apple is the second contestant to be it's self. Samsung your contestant one. A Korean company trying to be the Apple of China? I guarantee you Samsung wants to be the top manufacture of the world. Don't think they want to be the Apple of anything. They want to be top dog of the cell phone world. Huawei and Xiaomi want the same thing. I don't think anyone wants to be Apple they just want to knock Apple out of the coveted spot, and that is it.

    • Cory Schmidt
      • Admin
      • Staff
      5 months ago Link to comment

      Hi Mark, thanks for the comment.
      Apple is competing in China to become what it is in the US, which is the top seller of smartphones... for now at least. So the moniker the 'Apple of China' is just another way of saying that a company is the top selling in China. So Apple could be the 'Apple of China' but it is not and I don't think it ever will be. You might be right that some Android manufacturers don't want to be the 'Apple of anything' but for now I think it is good marketing.

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