China set to overtake the US as the world’s top iOS and Android market

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Woah, China. Not only is the world’s most populous nation home to over a billion mobile phone users, it’s also surpassed the US to become the country with the most active iOS and Android smartphones and tablets in the world.

New data from Flurry Analytics shows that, by the end of this month, there will be 246-million smart devices in China compared to 230-million in the States. According to the company’s Vice President of Marketing, Peter Farago, Flurry arrived at the figure after tracking more than “2.4-billion anonymous, aggregated application sessions per day across more than 275 000 applications around the world”, and estimates it measures activity on around 90% of all smart devices worldwide.

Android and iOS smartphones China and US

The two countries had roughly the same numbers of iOS and Android users in January, but China’s growth trajectory is outstripping the US’s. From January 2012 to January 2013, China’s tally of iOS and Android devices grew by 150-million. The US added only 55-million. It’s simple math: as Flurry point out, as the US is the third most populous nation, it has little hope of catching up with China’s stats. The only potential competitor in the foreseeable future is India, with its population of 1.2-billion, although the report shows that the UK is the third biggest market at present. But the smartphone adoption rates in a number of emerging markets are growing faster than their Western counterparts, with Colombia, Vietnam and Turkey leading the race.

Fastest growing smartphone markets

Although it’s no longer the country with the fastest growing smartphone market, China’s numbers are still staggering: it is home to more than 1.3-billion citizens, who own over 1.1-billion mobile phones and are increasingly opting for an iPhone or the latest Android device instead of a humble feature phone. Smartphones account for more than 59% of the country’s mobile phone marketshare, and its three mobile operators have also seen rapid increases in the number of users adopting more advanced 3G services, as their combined 3G subscribers now total more than 233.44-million.

While Flurry doesn’t provide any information on other competing operating systems like BlackBerry or Windows Phone, recent research suggests that their addition may not alter the findings much at all. Android and iOS devices grabbed a massive 88.6% of the worldwide smartphone market in the last three months of 2012, with BlackBerry and Windows Phone taking only a 3.5% and 3% slice respectively.

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