Their decision not to construct an iPhone compatible with TD-SCDMA, the 3G standard provided only by carrier China Mobile (CM), has cost them a potential 655 million customers; the amount of CM subscribers and a customer base that is two times larger than the entire population of the United States.
Apple’s refusal to build the TD-SCDMA phone – and thus to meet unprecedented demand for their product following the egg-pelting incident at Beijing’s Apple Store – has allowed competitors willing to meet that standard to put some distance between themselves and Apple in the Chinese market; competitors such as Samsung, whose smartphones currently account for almost a quarter of all those sold in China.
Following that incident at the Apple Store, iPhones were removed entirely from the shops although they remain available online. With this in mind, Samsung have widened the gap even further on Apple with an eye to staking their claim on the soon to be expected 137 million smartphones in China – a figure that sees the United States overtaken for the first time as the leading smartphone users.
Market expert Kim Young Chan of Shinhan Investment said, “It’s just one country, but it’s such a big market and its portion in the global market is huge, so Samsung is trying to act fast to capture the market.” He went on to say, “Dealing with different network standards will give them a pretty valuable competitive edge.”
It remains to be seen whether or not Samsung can retain that edge as China moves into the 4G age.