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With Samsung Stung, Will Apple Overtake in China’s Smartphone Market?

In the aftermath of the watershed patent infringement case pitting Apple against Samsung, will Apple, Inc. overtake Samsung as China’s preferred smartphone of choice?

Not Likely.

While Apple’s win over Samsung seemed to most like a chance for Apple to finally, publically call Samsung out for its continual too-close-for-comfort-copycat products, it is unlikely that Apple and iPhone sales will surge anytime soon in what will soon be the world’s largest smartphone market.

Not that the case didn’t provide Apple a boost worldwide; Apple’s stock soared to an all-time high, and the Korean electronics conglomerate will need to pay a fine of over $1 billion.

But let’s take a look at this new chart by IHS iSuppli, showing China Smartphone Supplier Market Share for the first half of 2012:

China Smartphone Supplier Market Share: IHS iSuppli

China Smartphone Supplier Market Share: IHS iSuppli

Samsung is the obvious leader with 20.8% and domestic brands Lenovo, Coolpad, Huawei, and ZTE leading over Apple’s 7.5%. IHS iSuppli posits two reasons why Apple is lagging: 1)Chinese wireless communication’s TD-SCDMA, and 2) cost.

TD-SCDMA, or Time Division Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access, is the air standard in China, developed to wean dependance on western companies, and is supposed to be better in densely populated areas and areas with low mobility.

Either way, iPhones don’t have it, domestic brands and Samsung do.

“Among all the international smartphone brands competing in China, Apple is the only one not offering a product that complies with the domestic TD-SCDMA air standard,” says Kevin Wang, of IHS iSuppli.“For Apple, this is a huge disadvantage.”

Second, while many Chinese are brand conscious, statistics point to positive growth for domestic brands, especially from the globally popular Lenovo and Coolpad.

As for other international players in the Chinese mobile market?

The verdict provided some relief to the flagging Finnish-based Nokia, its stock rising 5.5%, but the case was a big hit to anyone using the Android operating system.

“We also believe other Android manufacturers, such as HTC, Sony, and LG, will review this patent verdict and potentially alter and delay planned Android smartphones and tablets,” said Michael Walkley, technology analyst at Canaccord Genuity.

We’ll have to see how the companies fair after the verdict in the second half of 2012.

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