According to Kantar Worldpanel Comtech, Android powered smartphones have become an unstoppable force in the Chinese market.Between May and July 2013, a massive 71 percent of all smartphones sold in China ran on Android, a 9 percent increase on the same period in 2012. In comparison, Apple’s iPhone held 22 percent of the market, while Windows phones held 5 percent.
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Android’s dominance has actually led to a sense of unease amongst Chinese government officials who have started accusing Google of discriminating against local companies. Tension between the search engine giant and China should come as no surprise after Google shifted its servers to Hong Kong in 2010 after refusing to comply with the country’s online restrictions.
Even though Android is open source, its core technological features are strongly controlled by Mountain View. Offering Android to Chinese companies has therefore impeded the development of home-grown operating systems.
According to a government white paper released during the summer, the Chinese technology ministry believes the nation’s smartphone industry is too reliant on Android and they have moved to promote local manufacturers instead. Indeed, Chinese smartphone companies have achieved some success with Huawei Technologies and ZTE gaining a foothold abroad through cheap handset sales.
With YouTube, Facebook and Twitter banned in China, rumours have abounded about possible repercussions for Android but as of yet, nothing serious has occurred. Observers believe that regulations targeting Android could afford Chinese companies and smaller international smartphone producers a greater market share.
Even though Chinese officials are sweating, the simple fact of the matter is that Android domination can be perfectly natural. It doesn’t just dominate the smartphone market in China; it actually powers more then 70 percent of smartphones across the world and has performed particularly strongly in Europe. 69 percent of handsets sold between May and July 2013 in Europe ran Android.
In the United States, however, the market is more saturated. Android is still in the lead, powering 51 percent of smartphones over the same period while iOS powered 43 percent. Just 4 percent of smartphones sold in the United States between May and July 2013 ran on Windows.
Niall McCarthy writes for Statista.