China's total mobile phone shipments reached 110 million in the second quarter of 2013, according to China Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, Q2 2013 IDC.
Findings from the report indicate that smartphone shipments grew by 10 percent on a quarterly basis to reach 86 million during this period.
China's smartphone shipments will reach 360 million in 2013 driven by the subsidies of operators and the strong demand of consumers for upgrading mobile phones.
More growth is expected in the future as China's smartphone shipments will exceed 450 million in 2014 due to the issuance of 4G licences and the launch of Apple's new iPhones by China Mobile.
"The smartphone market has maintained a two-digit quarter-on-quarter growth rate in Q2 due to two reasons," said Antonio Wang from IDC China. "First, the substantial shipments of low-end smartphones at a unit price of less than RMB 800 [US$130] that support China Mobile's 3G network. Second, the shipments prepared by mobile phone vendors to meet the market demands of students during the summer vacation."
Competition in OS market
Looking forward, China's smartphone operating systems (OS) is set to experience healthy competition due to the development of Firefox OS, Tizen and Linux-based Aliyun OS.
IDC also expects the iOS market to grow rapidly in 2014 due to Apple's cooperation with China Mobile and the launch of the low-cost iPhone.
"The sharp increase in shipments of low-end China Mobile smartphones has driven the growth of Lenovo and Coolpad," said James Yan, senior analyst for China Mobile Phone Market, IDC China. "On a separate note, affected by the sluggish sales of iPhone 5, Apple's market share has declined dramatically, but its performance is expected to remarkably improve with the launch of the new iPhone."
In 2014, China's smartphone would support 4G functions and over 32 million smartphones would adopt China Mobile's TD-LTE air interface by the end of this year.
Chinese consumers now demand large-screen mobile phones and this will boost the market share of 5-inch-plus screen smartphones. The market share of 5-inch-plus screen smartphones will increase from 20 percent in 2013 to over 50 percent in 2017, said IDC.
(By Anuradha Shukla)