If anyone is in the position to know what Chinese netizens get up to online, it’s Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU), the nation’s top search engine. Baidu’s newest mobile trends reports reveals lots of details about what people in China are doing with their smartphones and feature phones – but let’s focus on the big picture.
The report shows that China now has 270 million active Android users (in Q3 2013), up from about 130 million at the same period last year.
Notice that the rate of growth of Android uptake is now slowing on average – to about 10 to 13 percent per quarter – but there’s likely still room for plenty of growth as more of China’s poorer citizens abandon their old-timer flip-phones.
Baidu’s report also looked at where these Android newcomers live, to give a picture of socio-economic changes in smartphone adoption across the country. Apparently, most of the Android adopters this year are in China’s slightly smaller ‘second-tier’ cities (nearly 45 percent of them), but the red line on the right side of the graph below indicates that Android is growing faster than before in third-, fourth-tiers cities, as well as China’s countryside.
Cheaper yet good quality Android phones are helping push this fast adoption. You can now get a quad-core phone that doesn’t feel cheap-y for about $130, and Chinese homegrown brands like Xiaomi are making phones that cost less than $350 look cool. That’s a threat to the two leading smartphone brands in the country in terms of sales numbers – Samsung and Lenovo.
IDC reckons that China will see 360 million smartphones sold to stores in 2013, though many of those are replacement handsets for existing smartphone owners.
Find lots more tiny details in Baidu’s full Q3 report here (PDF file).
(Editing by Paul Bischoff)