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Rising smartphone stars look to outshine Apple


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For mobile makers there's no bigger prize than conquering the emerging markets of India and China. Around 2.5 billion people live in the two countries, 36 percent of the world's population, and convincing each of them to upgrade to a smartphone handset would be a coup.

India will overtake the U.S. by 2017 as the world's second biggest smartphone market, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC), joining China in the top spot. Nine in every ten mobiles now sold in China is a smartphone, the latest data from Counterpoint Research shows. But sales aren't reaching the same saturation points they are in developed markets.

According to German research company GfK, in the second quarter of 2013, overall mobile and tablet sales in China reached 1318.8 billion yuan ($215 billion), a rise of 42.3 period compared with the same period of last year.

Apple launched its lower-cost iPhone with a plastic cover with this market in mind, but its pricing might still deter many consumers in emerging market consumers.

(Read More: An 'emerging' threat to Samsung, and it's not Apple)

While Apple might be tipped to fail, many local vendors have found huge success in the sector. Homegrown Asian smartphone brands shipped 119 million units in the second quarter of 2013, according to research firm IDC, up 10 percent on the quarter and up 75 percent from the same time last year.

Strip out the large global brands like ZTE and Huawei and there are promising statistics from the local vendors that mainly ship to their own markets. These up-and-coming players comprised 38 percent of Asia-Pacific second quarter volumes, IDC said, up from 20 percent in the same quarter of 2012.

(Read more: Smartphone 'saturation' fears for Apple, Samsung)

CNBC highlights just a few of the rising stars that are making waves in these key smartphone markets.

By Matt Clinch,
Posted October 2013

Disclaimer: IDC has business relationships with most of the vendor phone companies mentioned in this slideshow

Yawar Nazir/Contributor | Getty Images News | Getty Images