Asia now world’s biggest smartphone market

A report from analyst firm Canalys has named Asia as the world’s largest market for smartphones, based on sales. The last year has seen the region’s smartphone industry almost double to account for 40 percent of the world’s smartphone sales.

Key highlights of the report, which is covered comprehensively in the UK Guardian, see Android named as the world’s dominant smartphone platform for the second quarter in succession, making up 35% of the world’s smarphone sales, and:

Apple thrived on the growth in the Asian and US markets, with the Chinese New Year and the launch of CDMA-equipped iPhones through Verizon from February helping it to an 18% share worldwide.

Overall, sales in the APAC (Asia Pacific) region grew 98% to 37.3m units, said Canalys, which puts it ahead of the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region for the first time since the third quarter of 2007.

However the US remained the largest country for smartphone shipments: Android remained the leading smart phone platform in the US for the third consecutive quarter, with a 49% share.

Pic: AP.

Apple’s growth has been well documented – Apple named China its fastest growing international market just last month, while Thailand’s rapid growth last year saw the country receive Asia Pacific’s largest shipment of iPhones during December.

Despite Apple’s focus on Asia, other platforms – such as Android in particular – are seeing impressive growth results in the region too.

Much of the success of smartphones in the region comes thanks to the slower adoption rate compared to the West. In the US smartphones are set to outnumber feature phones by the end of the year. As more Asians get tech savvy, so the number of smartphone devices sold continues to rise.

With many in Asia leapfrogging the PC and jumping straight to mobile internet via a smartphone and/or tablet or netbook, the rise of Asia as the world’s biggest smartphone selling region has been foreseen by many.

As smartphone ownership in Asia continues to grow so is the use of the mobile web, which is already the highest in the world when compared to fixed-line internet usage – an important consideration for those building or marketing websites and services in the region.

Equally, social networks – like Facebook and Twitter – are riding the smartphone wave across Asia with mobile a key platform for social network users, as is the case in Indonesia.