According to the International Data Corporation’s (IDC) latest report, Apple has for the first time overtaken Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi to become the top smartphone vendor in China in the first quarter of 2015. Xiaomi slipped to the second position as it faced strong competition from other vendors in the low to mid-range segment of the market, while Huawei maintained third position, then Samsung and Lenovo.
Apple obtained 14.7% of market share in Q1, 2015, while Xiaomi had a 13.7% share, followed by Huawei (11.4%), Samsung (9.7%), and Lenovo (8.3%). These companies took up 57.8% of market during January-March period.
A total of 98.8 million units shipped, contracted by 4.3% than in the first quarter of 2014. This is the first time in six years that the China smartphone market declined YoY. With the market in China slowing down, it seems that Chinese vendors will now focus on increasing their presence in India as well as more Southeast Asia countries in 2015.
Apple to Launch Apple Pay in China
The company is in talks with Chinese banks and Alibaba to launch its mobile payment system Apple Pay in China, as Chief Executive Tim Cook told the official Xinhua news agency in an interview.
Apple Pay was launched in September 2014 in US. The service allows consumers using Apple devices to to buy goods by holding the device up to payment readers installed by store merchants.
“We very much want to get Apple Pay in China. I’m very bullish on Apple Pay in China,” Tim Cook said to Xinhua during his visit to the country. Further talking about his future plans he said his firm expects aims to add stores to China, where it aims to have 40 by next year from 22 currently. Cook’s visit to China was mainly to focus on Apple Pay’s entry in China as well as environmental initiatives to protect forests.
October 2014 Jack Ma said that Alibaba was open to working with Apple on Apple Pay. Presently, Alibaba’s affiliate Alipay is China’s largest payment service, as reported by ET.
In order to further show its interest in the Chinese market, Apple’s environmental initiatives include a multi-year project with the World Wildlife Fund to increase responsibly managed forests across China.
Additionally, Tim Cook had joined China’s Twitter-like Weibo on 4th May 2015. He attracted more than 2 lakh followers within the first two hours he joined Weibo.
“Hello China! Happy to be back in Beijing, announcing innovative new environmental programs,” Cook posted on his account. His first post was immediately commented on over 30,000 times and forwarded more than 20,000 times.
Cook’s move to open an account on Weibo came after Apple released its latest batch of quarterly earnings last week, which showed the company sold more iPhones in China than in the US. Clearly enough, Apple is establishing its dominance in the land where a number of new smartphone companies have emerged in the last one decade, and with Apple Pay in the picture, it wants to do more than just sell phones.