iPhone captures one-third of smartphone market in Japan

iPhone 5 Japan

Apple is having great success in Japan. Not only is the iPhone maker surviving one of the most competitive tech markets on the planet, but breaking sales records. The company’s smartphone now has 34 percent of the country’s market, new research shows.

The figure – more than double that of just months ago – shatters a sales record that’s stood for ten years. Apple’s success in Japan even overshadows the world’s largest market, China…

“This is the first time any handset brand has crossed the 30% mark in the last decade in one of the most modern digital handset markets in the world, Japan,” said Counterpoint Research director Tom Kang.

More than ten handset makers vie for a spot among the country’s three mobile providers. Not even Sharp, which has held the top spot for five years, has crossed the 26 percent mark for market penetration, according to the research firm.

Japan’s technology fans have a thing for iPhones. According to analytics firm Localytics, when Apple unveiled the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c the new models quickly accounted for nearly 10 percent of all iPhones in use in the East Asian country.

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That was almost double the 5.5 percent adoption rate seen globally.

Additionally, in terms of revenue, Japan is fast becoming Apple’s best-selling region, wracking up 41 percent year-on-year growth, Forbes reports Tuesday. By comparison, Greater China has seen just six percent revenue growth.

The news comes as Apple finally lands Japan’s NTT DoCoMo. The carrier in the past has wavered on agreeing to Apple’s terms, at times commenting that the iPhone had lost its cool to even offering Android handsets.

Japan can be seen as a tough audience for smartphone makers.

Led by young, sophisticated consumers and controlled by a handful of carriers acting as gatekeepers, the island nation could take on the tech equivalent of New York City: if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere.

On a related note, beginning November 1, Japan’s carrier KDDI will launch an iPad trade-in program. The program will let customers of the carrier who own old iPads to trade them in for an $184.21 (JPY 18,000) credit.

The program aims to encourage owners of  upgrade to cellular iPads. Models with cellular and Wi-Fi have not performed as well as cellular iPads, the company announced.