Almost a quarter of the world’s connected devices are now in active use in China. It is also worth noting that both Chinese-manufactured devices and locally developed apps have begun to take serious market share.

Connected Devices: China’s Market Shows Differences from Developed Countries

In February this year, China officially overtook the United States to become the country with the largest installed base of connected information and communication devices, signalling that the market for this type of device is far from being the preserve of the richest countries. Similarly, markets for mobile devices are growing faster in the BRICs – Brazil, Russia, India and China – than in the United States, the UK or South Korea. These are among the findings of a recent report by mobile analytics firm Flurry, which focuses on the smartphone, tablet and app landscape in China, a country which now boasts around a quarter of the world’s connected devices. Usage here has in fact grown very fast, but the pattern of use is nevertheless in some ways quite different from that found in developed countries.

Many and varied applications in active use

The Flurry Analytics report reveals that, like users the world over, Chinese people spend most of their app-time on games applications. However, there are a number of respects in which Chinese users behave somewhat differently. For example, Chinese iOS device owners spend more time than those elsewhere using books, newsstand, utility, and productivity apps (1.8 times, 1.7 times, 2.3 times, and 2.1 times respectively), while Chinese owners of Android-based devices spend on average more than seven times as much time on finance apps as owners elsewhere. The report points out that Chinese-developed apps may enjoy a greater than usual competitive advantage in China, given the specific cultural features of the country, and forecasts that in the future work- and education-oriented apps will be increasingly in demand.

Hardware market dominated by Apple, Samsung… and Xiaomi

It is not however only in the software field that Chinese firms are distinguishing themselves. From a random sample of close to 20,000 devices registered in the Flurry Analytics system in China, Apple and Samsung remain the top two device manufacturers, with a 35% and 15% market share respectively. However, the report underlines the dazzling success of China’s home-grown manufacturer Xiaomi which now takes third place with its 6% share of the market, ahead of several well-known and a multitude of lesser-known brands. Founded three years ago, Xiaomi’s reported turnover for first half 2013 was over 100 million yuan, with sales of around 38,000 smartphones per day. The report predicts that Xiaomi will continue to gain market share in China, especially with the expected launch of new suites of products. Flurry also reckons that the market for connected devices in China will continue to grow, given that the device penetration rate among the population is still relatively low.

By Ruolin Yang