In Hong Kong, Apple's slice of the mobile market dropped from 45% in January 2012 to its current 30% reading. Android flavored handsets now make up a whopping two-thirds of the smartphone market in the country. The bad news for Apple is that Singapore and Hong Kong are the trendsetters in the region and other countries tend to follow their lead.
The region is a bustling one for smartphone manufacturers. During the 12 months up to September 2012, spending on smartphones rose 78% over the prior year according to researchers GfK. But Apple is not benefiting from this increased spending as much as other handset manufacturers like Samsung and HTC are. And it is the young kids leading the way. One developer came up with a bill splitting app called BillPin and her research led her to launch the app on iOS. But subsequent research found that 70% of her target users-college students and young graduates in their early 20's-were already using Android or were planning on switching. An Android version of the app was launched this month.
25 year-old Janet Chan seems to be the typical smartphone user in the area. She owns an Apple iPhone 5 but poor battery life and her desire to watch movies over a larger screen is leading her to switch to the Samsung GALAXY Note II. Chan sums up her feelings when she says, "After Steve Jobs died, it seems the element of surprise in product launches isn't that great anymore." But it's not like Apple isn't selling any phones in the region. Apple's new Hong Kong store has long lines going out the door almost every day. But ironically, this kind of success could be hurting Apple. With too many people sporting the familiar looking device, the Apple iPhone is no longer a status symbol in the region.
Gatot Hadipratomo, an assistant manager at Coca Cola's local venture sums up the problem that the Apple iPhone faces in the area. The iPhone "used to be a cool gadget but now more and more people use it."