Apple, Inc. is finally gaining some momentum in the Chinese mobile market, picking up a 12 percent marketshare. Apple had controlled a 7.5 percent share the year prior. Those sales numbers did not include the Apple iPhone 5, which debuted in December.
Mainland China witnessed solid growth in 2012 with 53 million smartphone sales, a 64 percent year-over-year increase.
Fifty-three million smartphone sales barely puts a dent in the Chinese market where single providers often have over 100 million subscribers.
While Apple sales have increased, the company is still missing its biggest opportunity with China Mobile. As the largest carrier in the country, China Mobile accounts for a user base of 703 million subscribers. Apple has been in talks with China Mobile for years and recently hinted at an approaching deal.
In the meantime, a specialized version of Google Android with no Google Apps is currently dominating the Chinese cellular market. Google allowed the OS to be altered in order to gain approval by a strict Chinese government. It is that lack of customization that has likely stopped Apple’s iOS from gaining mass approval.
To increase its sales, Apple extended its point of purchase locations by 10,000 year-over-year. Apple also added new Apple Stores throughout the country, extending its “premium resellers” to 400.
According to Apple CEO Tim Cook, Apple iPhone sales doubled year-over-year, with the Greater China area accounting for $7.3 billion in the December quarter.
Apple is expected to sell 40 million iPhone’s in 2013 throughout the Asia-Pacific region. Apple sales could increase further if a deal is struck with China Mobile.