Apple iPhone takes the top spot in Japan last year for the first time ever

Apple iPhone takes the top spot in Japan last year for the first time ever
The Apple iPhone has conquered many countries, but it wasn't until last year that it had the leading market share in Japan on an annual basis. That's right, for Apple it was the leader in the Japanese smartphone market for the first time ev-uh. For the fourth quarter, the Apple iPhone held 16% of the Japanese market and it wound up the whole year with a 15% slice of the pie. Apple had taken over first place on a quarterly basis before, replacing hometown fan favorite Sharp in Q4 of 2011, but Sharp recovered and regained the top spot for the first half of last year.

The Korean smartphone twins, LG and Samsung, also both increased market share in Japan last year as the combined share of all foreign brands exceeded 50% for the first time. Chinese manufacturer Huawei saw its market share triple. Previously, it was hard for a foreign handset to crack the market. But with carriers like KDDI and Softbank heavily spending to promote the Apple iPhone 5, local manufacturers like Sharp and Fujitsu each had to accept a reduced 14% of the market.

The Japanese market used to consist of advanced featurephones running carrier designed OS or a proprietary OS designed by the handset manufacturer. But with the popularity of Android, foreign names like Samsung, LG, Huawei and ZTE have an advantage in producing Android flavored models that the Japanese firms don't have (outside of Sony, which is more of a global player). But for 2012, it was iOS, specifically the Apple iPhone, that ended Sharp's six consecutive years on top of the Japanese smartphone market.

source: CounterpointResearch via AppleInsider

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