Active smartphone users in China went over 700 million last year

By Nicel Jane Avellana

Mar 13, 2014 12:29 PM EDT

There are now more than 700 million active smartphone users in China as of the end of last year, TechCrunch reported citing data from analytics company Umeng. In the fourth quarter of last year, 41% of the smartphones sold were bought by first-time buyers of the device while the others were purchased by those who were upgrading their units, the report said.

Android devices that cost no more than $350 were still the hottest-selling phones, with 57% of them sold. High-end handsets or phones with a price tag of above $500 still made up 27% of the devices sold in 2013. In this category, iPhones comprised 80% of the sales, the report said.

China held the distinction of becoming the biggest smartphone market in the world in November 2011. However, as mobile penetration rates rise, the sales have also started to taper. An IDC report said that for the first time over two years, smartphone deliveries dipped near the end of last year. With smartphones getting more affordable, however, an increasing number of first-time users are encouraged to purchase their smartphones for the first time, the report said.

Meanwhile, since China has become one of the launch areas of Apple, users of iPhones in China are now less inclined to jailbreak their phones. There were only 13% of jailbroken iPhones in the mainland at the end of 2013 compared to the 30% when the year started, the report said.  

As far as Android devices are concerned, the market leaders are Samsung and Xiaomi. The top 10 Android devices in the fourth quarter of last year were made by the two firms. There are over 100 Android smartphone makers in the mainland, the report said.

Users of smartphones with a price tag of less than $150 also use them to play casual games. The Umeng report said that "the term 'casual games' is becoming a misnomer as users are spending large blocks of time playing these games rather than dipping in and out as was once the case." 

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