While Apple enjoys considerable success in the sale of its iPhone around the world, the Chinese market has proven a particularly tough nut to crack. Overall, Apple has had an amazing year: they sold more iOS devices in 2011 than Macs in 28 years. In the last quarter of 2011 Apple’s iPhone business alone generated more revenue than Microsoft’s entire business. The iPhone even surpassed OS X in web market share in the last quarter. And yet, in the country where the iPhone is actually built, China, Apple’s share of the smartphone market fell.
In fact, Apple fell from fourth place to fifth place in the Chinese smartphone market. Chinese-based ZTE Corporation passed Apple to take fourth place in the world’s largest mobile phone market. The top three spots are occupied by Samsung, Nokia, and Huawei Technologies, another Chinese-based company.
Much of Apple’s difficulty apparently stems from the cost of the device, which is as much as two months’ salary for many Chinese workers. Apple’s market share in China fell from 10.4 percent in the third quarter of 2011 to 7.5 percent in the fourth quarter. The iPhone is currently only available through one Chinese mobile carrier, China Unicom, though Apple reportedly is working to bring the iPhone to China Telecom, the country’s smallest mobile carrier.