Chinese Android market share doubles in 2011, Apple stays far behind


There are many reasons why we love the little green robot. But if there is something we can (and do) brag about is its market dominance. In just a few years, our favorite mobile OS has taken over the market. It seems China’s Android market share has gone to a whole other level, though.

Analysys International’s studies show that Android numbers have doubled in 2011. Google’s OS went from a 33.6% market share to a whopping 68.4% in China. But we know that Android is booming all over the place, right?

What is more surprising is the iOS market share in the same country. Apple ended 2011 with a mere 5.7% market share. This number is quite surprising, especially considering the fact the main operating systems have a much fiercer battle going on in the US, and many other countries.

It is also surprising to see that good ol’ Symbian is beating iOS by quite a bit, holding 18.7% of China’s market share. This could be due to the fact that other operating systems have a greater variety of affordable options. Android is very well known for being very accessible in that sense. And this is mostly what has helped Android reach such a successful state.

The same report also suggest that it could be very possible that the iPhone stayed behind due to the fact that the iPhone 4 and 4S look exactly the same. Seems like the iPhone is seen as a status symbol in China (like many other places), and there hasn’t been a good incentive for upgrading to a 4S – Interesting concept.

Must be nice living in a place where most smartphone owners have Android, right? We just wonder how many of these devices are high-end, or at least as expensive as an iPhone.

[Source: Macworld Via: Android Central]

Edgar Cervantes

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  1. Apple’s definitely a status symbol in China.  It’s very expensive and lookalike knockoffs, mostly based on Android, are very easy to come by.

    1. Anyone else fascinated by the knockoffs? It’s crazy that we have decent smartphones at outright prices of 2-3 hundred bucks and people are still making money copying the big boys!

  2. iPhone just got to chine this year it wasn’t sold before there give it few months and you’ll see the gap norrow ;)

    1. I don’t think it will narrow that much.  China has it’s own OEMs and the average Chinese person is likely to buy from their own companies.  The iPhone being a status symbol is more likely the case.

      1. I don’t believe Siri has Chinese language support yet. Thus, given that Siri isn’t fully functional in China and that the 4S looks like 4, it’s not surprising that the 4S isn’t driving sales there.

    2. The iPhone 4s just came out in china this year, but apple has been selling iphones in china since the 3G

    3. china is big on hacking their phones to do whatever they want. iphone isn’t very friendly to that concept, so there’s simply zero interest.

  3. Iphone is just a status symbol everywhere. My friend  got the iphone 4s on launch date and when I asked him, why he said it was cool. I asked him, if he thought about Android, he said he knew it could do more except it couldnt show the world he was cool, so he went with the iphone. Just goes to show you how insecure ios users must be.

    1. iPhones are not cool for no reason. They do work, and they work well, and they are elegant. I prefer android, but I am wondering how well google is going to be able to keep it all together, and I worry about their commitment to quality.

      I was thinking about making a system for backups of my android 3.1 tablet (not rooted) the other day, but looking at the directories, it is a HUGE mess. There should be one folder on the drive  where all apps keep their user data, a home directory of sorts. Instead they’re in root. When I want to find the few folders I’ve put on my device, I have to scroll through more and more stuff that I don’t want to be seeing.

      I don’t know that iOS devices are any better on this front, but google is not thinking everything through. There is often no one at the helm deciding that g+ should allow pseudonyms, dealing with European android developers not getting their payments, controlling the apps and permissions in the marketplace, or architecting user’s devices so that the users are given maximum power over their devices.

      If I were to get an iPhone, it would be because of this practicality, but when I was in high school in the 80’s, I actually cut the little alligator off my IZOD shirts because I didn’t want to fit in so meaninglessly. I just liked the shirts.

      1. So you’d move to a system where you can barely access the folders at all? That like saying I can’t get the quarter mile time I want in a GT-R so I’m switching to a Honda Civic. I dunno maybe you haven’t used iOS but it doesn’t work well for somebody that actually uses Android. Its actually not intuitive at all as I discover over and over again. And others haven’t had much trouble making backup apps. Are you trying to backup apps or data?

        1. You may be right in my ability to do more on iOS, but they try to integrate Timeline and other apps into their ecosystem.

          Ultimately, though, I want android to be better.

          The file structure system is terrible. It is not organized for humans to use manually.

          We are not encouraged to set up a new google ID as an admin to our devices. When I tried to clean my tablet up to hand to a friend to use, I only then realized my mistake. My account ID and password is saved in the OS and it will auto-fill the mail app. You cannot loan your tablet to a friend with android.

          Both of these mistakes were avoidable.

          In this particular case, my tablet, a Lenovo ThinkPad Tablet running honeycomb, is having a problem. The Context Menu button has stopped working since a recent upgrade to a new ROM ( 0090_JP ). If I could make a full backup of my apps and my data, then I could factory refresh, then upgrade and search for the origin of the bug. When I find it, or when i give up, then I just restore the backup and I am back where I am now.

          Thank you for asking, btw :-) A question for you: can root and Titanium backup do what i want it to do?

          1. I used to back up from Nandroid but I have a friend that uses Titanium religiously and likes it. Can’t really tell you for sure now because I’m not rooted and don’t have a need to back up. Just about everything I store on my devices is connected to the cloud and backed up anyway. Your apps will reinstall from the market if you wipe your device as soon as you log in again. For pics and vids I periodically copy them onto a NAS at my house.

            I don’t think Android was designed to be a multi-user system like a laptop or desktop. Remember it started for phones and nobody is going to lend their phone to someone. The case might make more sense for a tablet. But there are also space limitations to consider with handling separate profiles.

            Still not sure how the file structure is so bad. I guess you’d like it to start you off in an empty home folder? I’d say that’s fairly close to how your SD card looks at first which is where most file managers will start. I just really haven’t heard that complaint and I know a lot of people that just plug their phones into their computer and go for it. 

            Lastly….not sure how iOS solves any of these problems. Does it?

          2. I don’t know if iOS solves any of these problems. My original comment on the iPhone was just that there is more to their appeal than just status. I then went off on how google is not managing android as well as it could.

            Since Honeycomb was designed for tablets, ICS is its more complete follow-up, and since people do lend friends their tablets (even if just to see how it works), I was hoping google integrated multiple logons into android. It at least needs a guest account that protects the main user’s data. You don’t want your friend looking at games and apps and all on your tablet when a sensitive email comes in or an important, private reminder pops up. I don’t see why on a tablet why working around those concerns that would require much drive space. And even then, tablet owners should be able to make an informed decision.

            About the file system, when I first began using my phone and then my tablet, navigating the folders was easy enough. I had a media folder and a documents folder, and I went into the DCIM folder using a file browser. These were all easy to find. Now, though, with 300 or so apps on my tablet, when I browse looking for the above folders, I have to scroll and scroll and scroll. There is just no planning going on as to what directories are put on the root folder, and navigating suffers as a result.

    2. It is not just a status symbol.

      I use and prefer android, but I recommend iphone to most of my friends because:

      Most of them don’t have the time to mess around with rooting and custom roms.

      Most of them don’t care about what android can do

      They need something that “just works” iphone fits that criteria

      Sometimes they are vain and want to look cool, so iphone covers that part.

      They don’t give a damn about budget.

      Fragmentation is a pain in the arse. My galaxy note does not run all the apps that galaxy s2 runs (diff resolution, chipset, graphics).

      Most problems of android are minor, but many minor problems becomes quite a major problem in the end.

      1. That’s very interesting. Android apps are processor independent by default. What are some of the apps that run on one but not the other? I am very curious.

        1. One very simple and not important app at all, nyan cat.

          Works fine on galaxy s, s2, warped graphics on galaxy note. I own all 3 devices.

          Let me clarify, it works but not exactly perfect.

          1. I see, ok. Well, maybe try Spare Parts+ and change compatibility mode, that may help. Android provides for graphics scaling, it’s not implemented by all devs, Spare Parts+ can often help. No promises, but worth a shot.

      2. I own an iPhone also, mostly bought it just to see what the big deal was, and don’t even get me started on the minor problems, like for the fact it crashes when im using the browser or an app like 20+ times a day, and if your running cloud it drains the battery like crazy in around 6-7 hours and it doesn’t even have 4g, yea fragmentation is an issue on android, but most of those apps gain compatibility with the device over a short period of time but you cant fix 512mb of ram,  when i first bought the Transformer prime, 4 months ago, barely any apps in the market were compatible with it, and in the past month or two there have a flood of new high quality, tablet compatible apps  . You cant compare Android to iOS because iOS has been mainstream almost twice as long, so if you are going to compare the two compare Android right now to iOS back in 2010

        1. So, if I enter a shop to buy a new phone I should ask to see an iPhone currently available and an Android that will be available in two years … in case I want to prepay and come back in 2 years to pick up my phone :-)

    3. You can’t really be ignorant to push your friend’s insecurities unto everyone who purchased an iPhone. People buy into an ecosystem for several reasons. In countries like china, there are obvious reasons why android is doing so well. There isn’t just one reason…stop being so naive and quite the ignorant stereotyping…

  4. It was funny today. I saw this person using what looked like an iPhone but it had android on it! I asked them what kinda phone that was and they said it was imported from China. I can’t remember the name

    1.  It’s not worth it to look up the name. There are so many phones like that in China, and they’re all absolutely terrible.

  5. i think iOS and the devices are obsolete

  6. Take a look at websites selling the low end Chinese android knock offs.  Lots and lots of cheap phones  with 400mhz processors and 256mb ram and not even edge speed.  These make my old mt3g look like it was massively spec’d out.

  7. azn market.  doesnt matter.  It could be filled with anime bunnies and douch pokemon dudes and it doesn’t matter on a global scale.  TRUE STORY.

    1. It does matter because 1/6st of the people on the whole planet live in China :)

  8. I think its about time we stop comparing Android to iOS, We don’t need a fricken chart or numbers to give us reasons to love the OS we just do out of personal preference and that’s not going to change. Even if apple did have a Market dominance   would you still want to join their closed ecosystem? When i joined Instagram the first week it was introduced in the Play Store and logged in, the iPhans that were posting negative comments about how android was for the poor had about as closed of a mind as the OS their phone is running on, guess it rubs off and no matter how many facts or proof we have that disproves their point, they will continue to utter the same gibberish, and the ironic part is most of those people that were accusing android as being “cheap” were using a iphone 3gs (free on a 2 year contract) or an iPod touch and dint own a iPhone 4S. Who the hell cares about iOS anymore, lets just focus on getting some more info on the galaxy s3 and i will be :D

    1. Right. Freaking. On.

    2. if there was any info on the S3 we would know. 

  9. >Must be nice living in a place where most smartphone owners have Android, right?

    China ?? Are you kidding ?

    Living in China is on my “No Way” list. I don’t care if it’s 100% Android.

    1. I’ve travelled to many provinces in China over the past 20 years, friendly folk and decent food plus in most cities the air quality is as good as you’d find here but there’s still a lot of work to do. My point is if you haven’t been yourself and you are only basing on what you see on the news (most likely fox news/CNN, left and right are as biased as each other), then you will forever hold ignorant out of date views. Besides, yes, the system isn’t perfect over there but in comparison to the likes of Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka and Syria, you’d feel far safer in China, censorship still exists but that is looking to be a bit more relaxed compared to 20 years ago. The majority populace of China are very pro western and have an inkling for western goods, don’t judge a country by it’s government.

      1. Them smiling nicely at you because you are a foreigner is not being friendly. It is in their culture to be polite to strangers, no one is stranger than a white or black dude in a chinese setting. There is still a certain kind of awe to white dudes (maybe because most tv shows are dominated by white dudes).

        Safety is subjective and dependent on location, time and luck. Some parts of Australia are more dangerous than most parts of china.

        Food again is subjective, if you are accustomed to food on the go, then edible is good enough. If you are an ultra picky gourmet wannabe, then staying at home is best.

        1. I always thought that they smiled with me because we were friends.

          It’s fun to accidentally come across a wedding party. Many is the time my wife and I would be pulled into pictures with them.

          1. Hmmm, friends smiling at you. Well, they are your friend after all. Would be concerned if your friends spit at you all the time.

          2. LoL

  10. minus all the vs. comments I am actually surprised how different things are there. People here see the iphone as the status symbol and typically over seas we all just kind of assume they would clamor for the iphone. They are taking the status symbol thing pretty seriously tho!
    (There are no racial overtones in my statement at all please do not take it that way just a simple observation of a different market)

    1. Sad its to the point we have to asterisk that we are not being racist when talking tech… 

      1.  Well I always proofread before posting and I could see some troll jumping on it, But I do agree I shook my head while amending it.

  11. Real question (for Chinese). Are Galaxy Nexus or the HTC One X also “mianzi” devices for Chinese?

  12.  Everything that has transpired has done so,
    according to my design. Your friends, out there on the sanctuary moon,
    are walking into a trap, as is your Rebel fleet. It was I who
    allowed the Alliance to know the location of the shield generator. It is
    quite safe from your pitiful little band. An entire legion of my best
    troops awaits them. Oh, I’m afraid the deflector shield will be quite operational when your friends arrive.

    I dunno…just felt like saying that.

  13. The small market share of iPhone in China is partly due to the fact that it doesn’t run on China’s homegrown TD-CDMA network.

  14. I’m from China. I’ve been away from China a year. When I went back last month, I was astonished to see so many people using smart phones, especially big full touch smartphones (Blackberry is hard to see), which was quite different with one year ago. Galaxy is very popular, also I can see many iphone. But to tell the truth, it may not be the first choice when there are so many less expensive smart phones. Based on my observation, most of the users just use the internet to do online shopping, to chat with their friends (using a software called QQ). They are not funs of Android or IOS, they use their phone to kill time on bus or metro where there is no computer. Most young people like iphone, but to them it’s not so practical. The price of iphone is almost 800USD, while with about 150USD you can buy a pretty useful ZTE or Huawei smartphone, and 300USD to 400USD, a Samsung or Nokia smart phone. Beside the price on purchase, iphone is also very expensive to repair. The screen is easy to break, Apple doesn’t fix the phone, they just change the screen, and it costs about 180USD. Also because iphone uses smaller slot, people hesitate about cutting their chip. In this time, people are changing their phones so frequently, who knows whether he will still choose iphone next time?
    About Chinese copies of iphone, it used to be popular. Small factories in Shenzhen made all kinds of copies and sell them to developing countries such as India, Egypt and whole Latin America. Actually, there are less used in China. People know which is original which is a copy, they like good quality when they can afford. At present, in the big cities, it’s hard to see somebody use a copy phone in bus or metro. But in the countryside, it’s hard to say. Some countryside is richer than the cities, but the others are still poor.

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