We reported last year that Chinese-brand smartphones make up 60 percent of sales in China, but Samsung remains the top brand. For now. Lenovo (HKG:0992) CEO Yang Yuanqing said this week that it’s “definitely our aspiration” to surpass Samsung (005930:KS) to become China’s top smartphone maker.
Yang put no timeframe on that aim. It could happen soon, as according to Canalys data last summer, Lenovo was China’s fastest growing smartphone brand in Q2 2012, increasing sales by 2,665 percent to stand as China’s third-biggest phone seller. ZTE was second. Samsung was top in China in both 2012 and 2011 thanks to its Galaxy S and SII phones along with a range of cheaper Android-powered options.
More recently, newer figures from Gartner showed that Lenovo had edged into second place in China. At the same time, Apple dropped to sixth position and the relatively unknown CoolPad brand rose to third.
It’s possible that Yang’s aspirations could be realised by the end of 2013.
The Lenovo boss voiced his thoughts during Wednesday’s earnings call with Chinese and international media. Amid all the talk of growing PC sales and doing well in the US, it’s worth remembering that Lenovo has strong mobile ambitions in its home country.
Keeping his options open, Yang also said that Lenovo “will assess whether we should launch [on] the Windows Phone” platform as well, joining rivals such as Samsung, HTC, ZTE, and Huawei in hedging their bets on Microsoft’s WP as well as Google’s Android.
Taiwan’s Digitimes Research believes that 189 million smartphones were sold in China in the final quarter of 2012, with 86 percent of those being Androids. It’s conceivable that 300 million smartphones will be sold in the country in 2013.