updated 07:55 am EDT, Mon April 9, 2012
Study shows Chinese iOS gear tied to density
An uncommon study from Stenvall Sköld & Company has shown that much of Apple's mobile device share in China is disproportionately located in its urban areas. Based both on its own device analysis and research from local firm Umeng, it saw the distribution of 21 million iOS devices understandably skewed towards those provinces with the most urbanized populations. The highest concentration at 13.4 percent wasn't in one of the biggest cities but instead Guangdong province, home to Shenzhen and the Foxconn plants that make most of the iPads and iPhones for the world.
Beijing was next, at 10.4 percent, followed by Shanghai at 10.3 percent. Just under 10 percent were Shanghai's neighboring provinces, Zhejiang (9.5 percent) and Jiangsu (9.2 percent). Every other province was no higher than four percent, with the lowest usage coming from the more Western provinces and the relatively low-population Hainan province in the South.
Relative to total population, Beijing and Shanghai had the highest ratios, at one in nine and one in eleven of everyone in the provinces owning some sort of iOS device.
The country has overtaken the US as the primary source of both iOS and Android activations, but the new study helps reinforce the economic gap that exists in China between the provinces bordering the Pacific and those that are landlocked. While a city like Beijing or Shenzhen is relatively wealthy and has a rapidly emerging middle class, the West of the country is determined by a mostly rural population even when relatively strong in resources. Much of Foxconn's factory staff is made of young rural adults who came to Shenzhen to find better work and send money back to their families.
Still to be compared is the concentration of Android. It may be more evenly distributed as Android both has a lower prices overall in China as well as the support of multiple local companies, such as Huawei, Lenovo, and ZTE. Affluence would still likely skew adoption towards the most urbanized areas.