Android Smartphones Benefit From Robust China Sales: Canalys Report

The smartphone market owes a debt to China, which posted 199 percent growth during the quarter. Android was on 81 percent of the 42 million phones that shipped to China alone.

The smartphone market, and Google in particular, couldn€™t have asked for a bigger, better gift than China. With its 199 percent year-over-year smartphone growth, the country helped drive overall shipments to 158.3 million units during the second quarter, up from nearly 108 million a year ago. The overall market, meanwhile, increased by nearly 50 percent.

The more than 42 million smartphones that China demanded during the quarter favored Google€”81 percent of them were running Android€”as well as vendors more local to the Chinese market, most notably Samsung, ZTE, Lenovo and Huawei, all of which outsold Apple, which still counts China as its second-largest market, behind the United States.

€œThe 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,€ Nicole Peng, Canalys research director for China, said in an Aug. 2 statement.

€œLocal tier-one vendors have worked hard in recent quarters to greatly improve their brand resonance among consumers and to expand and enhance their relationships and influence within operators,€ added Peng, €œbut the tier-two vendors €¦ have also stamped their mark, boosting smartphone shipments into tier-three and tier-four cities.€

In China, Samsung maintained its lead and grabbed 17 percent market share€”though its growth was flat. The more phenomenal showings were arguably from ZTE, in second place, which achieved 171 percent growth; followed by Lenovo, with 2,665 percent growth (that is not a typo); and Huawei, with 252 percent growth year-over-year.

Apple, in fifth place, grew shipments in China by 102 percent year-over-year, though this was down 37 percent from the quarter before.

€œCollectively, domestic Chinese vendors shipped 25.6 million units, representing growth of 518 percent and 60 percent of the [overall] market,€ reported Canalys. €œBy comparison, international vendors grew by a more modest 67 percent to 16.7 million units.€

China has been a focus for the ailing Nokia, though with Motorola, it €œlost significant ground€ in China during the quarter, said the report. It added that, among the international vendors, only HTC €œmanaged an outstanding performance in mainland China,€ with shipments that grew 389 percent year-on-year to reach 1.8 million during the quarter.

The success, no fluke, follows HTC€™s announcement from earlier this year that, unable to successfully compete against Apple and Samsung in the United States, it planned to pull back and refocus those efforts on China.

On a global scale, Android likewise put in a strong showing, surpassing the 100 million shipments milestone for the first time and exceeding two-thirds market share€”or more specifically, 68.1 percent on shipments of 107.8 million units.

Apple followed well behind, achieving 16.4 percent market share on shipments of 26 million units, and Research In Motion's BlackBerry came in behind it, shipping 8.5 million units, which reduced its market share to 5.4 percent from 11.6 percent a year ago.

Samsung, too, also led in the global market. It grabbed a 31 percent share of the market, and was followed again by Apple and Nokia, respectively. HTC, thanks to its strong showing in China, jumped into the No. 4 spot globally, followed by BlackBerry maker RIM in fifth position.

€œGrowth in Android volumes of 110 percent far outpaced growth in the overall market of 47 percent year-on-year, heavily driven by Samsung, which saw Android volumes of over 45 million, contributed to by a full and broad portfolio of products, from its high-end flagship Galaxy S III down to its aggressively priced Galaxy Y and Galaxy Mini,€ Canalys Principal Analyst Pete Cunningham said in the statement. €œIts sponsorship of the London Olympics and subsequent product placements are sure to attract new customers to ensure that Q3 delivers a strong performance.€

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