Windows Phone overtakes iPhone in China, Microsoft claims

In addition to having trouble catching up to Samsung in China, Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform has now managed to outsell the iPhone in the 1.33 billion people market, if a high-ranked Microsoft executive in charge of the Greater China region is to be believed.

According to his data, Windows Phone market share in China now sits at seven percent, a percentage point ahead of the six percent market share enjoyed by the iPhone.

No reason to get enraged over this metric. Apple’s in it for the profits, not market share and Nokia actually has a dominant presence and world-class distribution in this hugely important market. Let’s hope Tim Cook’s looking into those numbers as Apple needs to double down on China…

Michel van der Bel, chief operating office at Microsoft for the Greater China region, told Dutch-language Emerce magazine.

We have only just begun.

Our smartphone and tablet-pc are hybrid, making them suitable for the consumer, but also easy to insert within an existing company infrastructure.

This will allow us to better anticipate the consumerization of IT than many competitors.

Research firm IDC actually saw this coming, predicting Windows Phone would overtake Apple’s handset in China, but only next year.

Heck, even Microsoft called for it!

Apple CEO Tim Cook told investors on a recent conference call that iPhone demand in China continues to be “off the charts”. The 1.33 billion people country is now the world’s largest smartphone market.

Cook said Apple expects to see continued major growth in China and Brazil, especially in China where they promised to build additional retail stores this year.

But how exactly has Windows Phone managed to beat the iconic iPhone which saw strong sales in China prior to the iPhone 4S release earlier this year?

Well, for starters, only two carriers sell the iPhone in the country: China Telecom and China Unicom.

In spite of ongoing negotiations, the iPhone continues to be unavailable through China Mobile, the world’s largest carrier which counts nearly a billion customers.

And let’s not forget that even though Nokia is at the risk of bankruptcy, the cell phone giant still has much more extensive reach in China compared to Apple.

Nokia’s carrier relationships are top-notch, especially compared to Apple which currently sells its iPhone through approximately half the world’s carriers.

All of the above combined to help push Windows Phone ahead of Apple in China.

IDC also predicted that Windows Phone will grow to become a third viable smartphone platform. In fact, per IDC, Windows Phone will control one-fifth of the smartphone OS market by 2015 to become #2, with iOS sliding to the third place with a 15 percent share.

While IDC could be stretching it, Windows Phone does seem to be getting a much-needed foothold in some of Asia’s fastest-growing markets.

If you ask me, Nokia and Microsoft stand a chance of establishing Windows Phone as a third viable platform in the mobile space.

They will iterate the platform, bring out new features, all the while taking advantage of Microsoft’s marketing dollars and Nokia’s huge reach to push these phones into the hands of customers.

I kinda like Windows Phone, even if the novelty of tiles quickly wears off.