80% of Chinese Households to Have Smartphones by 2017

China is well on its way to becoming a global smartphone superpower. It already accounts for 22% of global smartphone shipments and by 2017, the vast majority of households will have at least one smartphone.

One of the first customers who queued up to purchase a new smartphone iPhone 4S shows his new phone at an Apple Store in this file photo from Shanghai, China. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

According to mobile research company research2guidance, a rising middle class and the falling price of tech hardware means that 80% of Chinese families will be able to afford at least one low-end smartphone within the next five years.

The company reckons that the average Chinese smartphone currently costs around 2 000 yuan (US$ 313), but that most people opt for phones that are around half that price. A spate of low-end smartphones from the likes of ZTE, Huawei and Samsung mean that they’re increasingly within the average person’s grasp.

Smartphone shipments in the country recently overtook those of feature phones for the first time.

Smartphones now account for 59% of China’s mobile phone marketshare, with the vast majority of those being Android phones. According to MIIT, 822 new smartphone models hit the Chinese market in the past six months. Of those, a whopping 801 (more than 97%) were Android-based.

China has over 520-million internet users — and a third of them go online using their cellphones. Add in that burgeoning middle class, along with falling data rates and you can see that the 159.3-million 3G subscribers China currently lays claim to could be about to explode.

This article by Stuart Thomas originally appeared on Memeburn and was republished with permission.