Apple in 2012 topped Japan’s mobile phone market

iPhone 5 Japan

Apple may have a slight market share problem in BRIC markets (Brazil, Russia, India and China), but over in Japan the company has moved the needle in a big way. According to Hong Kong-based market research firm Counterpoint Research, Apple for the first time ended Sharp’s six-year run at the top to became the first non-Japanese company to rule the Japanese mobile phone market with a fifteen percent share in 2012, a notable increase from its ten percent market share in 2011…

Apple has been No.1 since November of last year.

As reported by Yonhap News, South Korea’s largest news agency, market positions of some well-known incumbents has dropped while Apple’s has risen.

For example, Sharp’s share fell from eighteen percent in 2011 to fourteen percent in 2012, a four percentage points decrease. Fujitsu also dropped to a fourteen percent share in 2012.

Interestingly enough, Apple’s fierce rival in the mobile space, Samsung Electronics, ranked fourth with an eight percent share. NEC, Sony and LG Electronics trailed behind, Yonhap reports.

Counterpoint Research (Japan 2012 mobile phone share)
Image via The Next Web.

Per Counterpoint Research, the combined market share of foreign brands in the fourth quarter of 2012 surpassed half the country’s mobile phone market for the first time.

In 2012 both Softbank and KDDI heavily promoted the new iPhone 5 to challenge Docomo. This move sparked a battle of smartphones in which Docomo fought back with various new smartphone models, the majority of which were also foreign branded.

So yet again it’s operator competition that has catalyzed the iPhone’s success – but in Japan at the expense of home grown players.

Apple is also prepping to put paid-for books from local publishers on the iBookstore. Japan’s carrier NTT DoCoMo hinted that an iPhone deal is in the works, though nothing has been announced yet.

Although the Apple handset fares well in the 128 million people market, a survey of 2,400 consumer electronics stores in Japan throughout the month of December conducted by BCN shows that Google’s Nexus 7 tablet outsold the iPad during the period, for the first time since 2010.