About a month ago, I went into detail on Apple’s presence in China. Since then I have been tracking and plotting the iPhone’s presence on Umeng’s app and device usage analytics network since 2012. If you recall Umeng’s latest report, it was clear the iPhone had a larger presence in China than many thought. More importantly, the iPhone completely dominates the premium tier in China, a segment larger than many realized at 27%. I dug around and concluded Umeng’s analytics data is fairly comprehensive – likely covering approximately 70-80% of the smartphone market.
I’d like to share the chart I made plotting the breakdown of iPhone models in China over time.
The lack of popularity of the 5c is not surprising. The price differential is too minimal for the market in China who view premium devices as status symbols. For the group that can afford or aspire to afford an iPhone in China, only the best will do. This explains the rise of the 5 and 5s in the chart. The real observation needs to be made about the plotted lines of the 4 and 4S. The install base of these two devices is largely driven by the secondary market. The bulk of Apple’s install base in China and its continued rise is still driven through illegitimate or “gray market” channels more so than through legitimate channels. I believe this will change over time but a great many Chinese customers still buy iPhones from the secondary markets and having them activated to the network of their choice.
The 5s is on a steady ramp, like the 5 was. This looks to continue. From Umeng’s data, no version of the iPhone saw as high a monthly increase as the iPhone 5s. It is also worth noting there isn’t a single Android SKU in China that shows up as a percentage of monthly activity on Umeng’s network any higher than 4%. This shows how incredibly diverse China’s Android landscape is.