Apple stuck to its guns when it came to expanding into China: refusing to compromise its brand equity by selling lower cost iPhones to compete with low-end smartphone manufacturers.
That decision seems to be paying off, since a new study in China by app and mobile advertising analytics firm Umeng shwes that Apple’s targeting of affluent users has already seen it capture more than 80% of the Chinese smartphone market, who spend upwards of $500 on their phones.
Umeng’s report suggests that there are currently 700 million smartphone users in China, and that high-end users make up approximately 27% of this market (roughly 190 million consumers). Of that group, 80% — or around 150 million — carry iPhones.
To make sense of this number, consider that the total number of iPhone users in China is around the same total number of smartphone users in the U.S.
Apple’s growth in the Chinese smartphone market has been impressive: growing from 175 million 3G users in 2012, to more than 300 million last July.
Umeng’s report report also notes that the number of jailbroken iPhones in China has fallen from 30% to 13% since last summer, as users become more aware of the security risks of using a jailbroken phone.
Umeng’s numbers come from real-world usage as opposed to shipments, and are therefore considered a more accurate representation of active smartphone users.