"Smartphone shipments grew 58 percent sequentially to reach a record 23.9 million units in China during Q3 2011," Strategy Analytics Analyst Linda Sui said in a statement. "In contrast, smartphone shipments fell 7 percent sequentially to reach 23.3 million units in the United States. China has overtaken the United States for the first time to become the world's largest smartphone market by volume."
Nokia became the market leader in China during the third quarter, shipping more than 6.8 million smartphones to the country or 28.5 percent of all units that were shipped. Samsung came in second with a 17.6 percent market share and shipping more than 4.2 million smartphones. According to Strategy Analytics, all other vendors made up the other 12.9 million devices unaccounted for which is 54 percent of the smartphone market in China.
"China is now at the forefront of the worldwide mobile computing boom," said Strategy Analytics Executive Director Neil Mawston. "China has become a large and growing smartphone market that no hardware vendor, component maker or content developer can afford to ignore."
"In the coming one or two quarters, it's going to be a seesaw game," Strategy Analytics director Thomas Kang said. "But going into next year, China will outstrip the U.S. market continuously. China is going to be larger every quarter."
In the United States it was HTC that came out on top, shipping the most smartphones in the third quarter. The company shipped more than 5.6 million units throughout the United States, 24 percent of the smartphone market. Apple came in second shipping more than 4.8 million iPhones, 20.6 percent of the market. All other smartphone manufacturers shipped a combined 12.9 million units, taking 55.4 percent of the smartphone market.
"China's rapid growth has been driven by an increasing availability of smartphones in retail channels, aggressive subsidizing by operators of high-end models like the Apple iPhone, and an emerging wave of low-cost Android models from local Chinese brands such as ZTE," said Kang.
Although China did take the spot as largest smartphone market in the world in terms of units shipped, Strategy Analytics did note that the United States remained the largest smartphone market in the world in terms of revenue.
Source: PCMag - China Passes U.S. as Top Smartphone Market by Volume and PCWorld - China Overtakes U.S. in Smartphone Shipments, Says Research Firm