Apple slips to sixth place in China smartphone market

Apple’s standing in the growing China smartphone market has taken another hit, slipping to #6 during the third quarter, research firm IDC announced Thursday. The drop comes as the iPhone maker faces concerns its iPhone could lose ground to other smartphone makers, such as Samsung and Nokia, whose handsets cover a wider range of price points. Apple share of smartphones shipped to China fell below ten percent during the quarter, a drop which coincides with Chinese smartphone shipments topping 60 million handsets, a new high…

Samsung, which makes the Galaxy, is ranked #1 in China, with China-based Lenovo coming in second, per IDC data.

The researchers expect Apple to grab more of the market when the iPhone 5 goes on sale in China next week. The 1.33 billion people market now accounts for one-fifth of Apple’s revenue.

The news comes just a day after Apple suffered its biggest one-day drop in four years, losing $35 billion in share value. Reuters reports the sell-off was prompted partly by concern Apple’s competitors could be gaining momentum in the world’s largest marketplace.

On Wednesday, Nokia – which has taken a drubbing from Apple in Europe and the U.S. – inked an agreement with China Mobile, the country’s largest carrier.

Reuters reports homegrown smartphone vendors are increasing their market share. Coolpad, for instance rose to #3 in China, up from sixth place. Among the reasons for the improvement: smartphones sold for below $160.

Can the iPhone 5 improve Apple’s standing in China?

How important now is finally signing a partnership with China Mobile, given Nokia’s agreement earlier this week?