iPhone and iOS Usage in China

Every few months, I update some unique data I have access to that allows me to monitor the usage of device models actively being used in China. I have this for Android but will focus on iOS for now and do Android later. For the first time, the iPhone 5s is now the most used iPhone in China for apps, the web, etc. This data comes from a proprietary dashboard from Alibaba and their recent acquisition Umeng. It is a combination of network usage data and app usage data.

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This is a monumental moment for Apple in the region. As you see when you look at the chart, the iPhone 4 and 4S have been the dominant iPhones in China. The vast majority of these devices came in through the grey market or the secondhand market. A key takeaway is that many of them were not purchased brand new. The iPhone 5s, on the other hand, likely was. The iPhone being available now on most major network providers in China is a help. The 5s running on the China Mobile 4G network, which they are pushing pretty hard, plus the fact the iPhone 5s is the most recent device, is a help. Combined, we can easily conclude the bulk of these iPhone 5s are new and not used. This is significant and it is underscoring the upside for Apple that was not there prior to the moves they have been making to be available in the region.

I remain entirely convinced, from my research and study of the Chinese market. that Apple is in full control of their destiny in the region.

All iOS Devices

If you are wondering why the market share does not add up to 100%, it is because I did not include all the iPad models in the data. Mainly because there is a number of models being tracked and color coding all the data points so they can be specifically recognized is a pain. But I did it anyway since I knew this question would come up. So below is the chart of active use in China by each device.

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Ben Bajarin

Ben Bajarin is a Principal Analyst and the head of primary research at Creative Strategies, Inc - An industry analysis, market intelligence and research firm located in Silicon Valley. His primary focus is consumer technology and market trend research and he is responsible for studying over 30 countries. Full Bio

2 thoughts on “iPhone and iOS Usage in China”

  1. I saw a reference to your article/analysis at Fortune. The Fortune article said that “the attached chart [was] created from exclusive Alibaba Web usage data.” (The article was by Philip Elmer-DeWit.)

    Unfortunately, PED’s chart (which he got from your article) wasn’t labeled well enough and the PED article wasn’t specific enough for me to understand what it represented. For example, it shows that 2 years ago iPhone 4+4s accounted for about 65% of something as gauged by Alibaba — but that something is undefined. Is that the % of all smartphone traffic visiting Alibaba’s website? The % of iOS traffic accounted for by iPhones? The % of spending?

    Thank you.

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