Apple's Smartphone Share in China Is Better, But Not Great

NEW YORK (TheStreet) - Apple (AAPL) seems to be making small inroads in its quest to gain smartphone market share in China, but it's still far behind the country's largest smartphone maker, according to new metrics.

Apple shares were falling 0.29% to $544.40 on Wednesday morning even though the tech giant's smartphone market share in mainland China rose to 7% in the fourth quarter of calendar year 2013 compared to 6% in the prior quarter, according to The Wall Street Journal, citing research firm IDC.

China is the world's largest smartphone market.

The fourth quarter was the first full quarter of sales for Apple's iPhone 5s and 5c, Apple's latest offerings. Apple released the latest versions in the U.S., China and other markets in September. Typically the Cupertino, Calif.-based company would release its latest device versions in China several months later.

Still, the research shows Apple still has a ways to go, particularly since smartphones using Google (GOOG) Android's operating system, like Samsung phones, are less expensive than Apple devices. The market research showed that Apple was the fifth-largest smartphone vendor in China, according to the Journal article.

Apple's quest to gain market share in the Chinese market is a tough one. Apple is competing with companies that provide consumers with cheaper options, fueling a debate over whether Apple has to compete on volume, the article states.

Samsung held onto its top position with a 19% share of the Chinese market, followed by Lenovo, with a 13% share, the article says. Third and fourth in the market share ranking was Coolpad, owned by Yulong Computer Telecommunications and Huawei Technologies, respectively.

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