China Smartphone Shipments Soar 199% in Q2

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Global shipments of smartphones in the second quarter of 2012 totaled 158 million, and China accounted for 27% of those shipments, a total of 42 million units, according to research firm Canalys. The total represents an increase of 199% year-over-year and 32% sequentially.

The overall market share leader in China is Samsung Electronics (OTC: SSNLF), followed by domestic makers ZTE, Lenovo, and Huawei. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) garners the fifth spot, and iPhone sales rose 102% year-over-year. However Apple’s sales fell -37% sequentially. According to the Canalys research director:

The rise of the domestic tier-one brands has been aided by a number of factors. Their reactiveness to market demands and deep understanding of local consumer behavior and preferences have been key in helping them surpass international peers in the fast-evolving Chinese market.

While not a zero-sum game by any means, for every winner there are also losers. In this case, both Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) and Motorola, now owned by Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG). Nokia’s shipments fell -47% in the quarter.

On the platform side, Google’s Android holds an 81% market share in China. Globally, Android volume topped 100 million units for the first time and now holds about 68% of the global market. Apple’s iOS holds 16.4% of the global market, down from 18.9% in the second quarter of last year.

Windows Phone from Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) was the biggest gainer in global shipments, up 277% from 1.3 million units shipped in the second quarter of 2011 to 5.1 million units shipped in the second quarter of this year. Research in Motion Ltd. (NASDAQ: RIMM) saw shipments fall year-over-year by -32% and the company’s global market share fell by more than half.

Could there be some hope for the Microsoft/Nokia duo in these numbers? Perhaps, if just barely. The companies are starting from such disadvantaged position that they have to count on doubling growth every year for the next three or four years in order to threaten Apple. That’s a real long shot.

Paul Ausick

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