Microsoft sees Windows Phone passing the iPhone in China

Apparently China is a hot topic today in the smartphone world. Earlier, we reported that the country’s Android and iOS device activations finally passed up those in the US. And now it looks like Microsoft wants in.

The company’s chief executive officer for the greater China region, Simon Leung, told Bloomberg this morning that Windows Phone will surpass the iPhone in smartphone market share in China by 2016…

For now, passing Apple’s market share in China wouldn’t be too difficult. With only two carrier partners in the country — both of which are fairly new — iOS handsets only account for around 12% of smartphones. But that number could grow substantially if Apple ever reaches a deal with China Mobile and its 650 million+ subscribers.

So how does Microsoft plan to beat the iPhone? Price. Leung says that Windows Phone manufacturing partners will soon be offering devices in the $150 range. In comparison, the iPhone 4S costs nearly $800 in China.

The Microsoft executive also believes that because Windows Phone has multiple hardware partners, including Nokia, Samsung and HTC, customers will have more options with its platform as opposed to Apple’s. And that will give it a significant advantage.

It’ll be interesting to see if Microsoft can deliver on its projections. Windows Phone, although highly-regarded by some critics, has so far failed to gain much traction here in the US or elsewhere. But perhaps the ‘lower cost of entry’ approach will serve it well. It certainly seems to be working for Android.

What do you think? Will Windows Phone pass up the iPhone in the next few years?