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Apple, premium smartphones make gains in China: Nielsen

Chinese consumers are buying more expensive smartphones with Apple's iPhone clinching a larger share of the market, according to a Nielsen report released on Monday.

According to the consumer research firm, Chinese demand for smartphones over CNY2,000 ($305) rose almost 9 percent to 45.7 percent in December from 36.9 percent in January, signaling rising disposable incomes.

Smartphones from foreign brands that cost over CNY2,000 had a market share of 38 percent of the market in December.

Technology giant Apple is also making further inroads into China with the iPhone posting a 4.9 percentage point increase in market share to 30.3 percent, added Nielsen. The study is based on data from 300 million smartphones.

Smartphones above CNY2,000 include Apple's iPhone 6s, homegrown brand OPPO's R7 and R7s.

"In China a user spends 170 minutes with smartphone in a day, which is higher than any other devices such as TV and PC. While a smartphone user on average opens up to 30 different mobile apps every day." said James Gong, vice-president of Nielsen China.

"A good phone means not only better mobile experience, but also better personal day-to-day experience. Consumers are willing to pay extra for better user experience."

Despite the popularity of foreign brands in the higher end smartphone markets, homegrown brands are also making gains with Huawai, OPPO and vivo making inroads as their market share of smartphones priced over CNY2,000 is also rising, Nielsen found.

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