Apple has overtaken Samsung to become the No. 1 brand in China’s mobile devices market, according to a new report by the China Brand Research Center. The latest ranking has been released at a time when the South Korean technology giant is losing ground to competitors in fast-growing emerging markets.
According to the research firm’s 2014 China Brand Power Index, Samsung, which had led the list since 2012, failed to maintain its lead because the company put market share ahead of customer loyalty. And, despite adding 24.6 points from last year to score 566.6 points on the index, Samsung could not keep Apple, which scored 568.5 points, from taking the top spot in the mobile rankings, CNET reported.
The China Brand Research Center polled 13,500 Chinese consumers across 30 cities in the age group of 15 to 60 for the survey, which covered the time period between August 2013 and January 2014.
“If companies (are) focusing too much on market share, while ignoring the concerns of consumers, it will cause a problem in brand management,” the research center said.
Although Samsung failed to maintain its lead in the mobile sector, the company continued to be the leading brand in the color TV and monitors segment in China. The Korean company came in third in segments covering digital cameras, digital video cameras and laptops.
Apple, which recently posted its largest third-quarter smartphone volume ever, thanks to the release of its highly anticipated iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, plans to open 25 new retail stores in China over the next two years. Apple, which already has 15 Chinese outlets, currently earns about 15 percent of its revenue from Greater China.
“We're investing like crazy in the market,” Reuters quoted CEO Tim Cook as saying during an interview posted by Chinese web portal Sina.com. “When I look at China, I see an enormous market where there are more people graduating into the middle class than any nation on Earth in history.”
Although Apple is focusing more on the Chinese smartphone market, the iPhone maker is not the only threat to Samsung’s mobile business in the country as local vendors, such as Xiaomi, have started expanding their footprint.
International Data Corporation, or IDC, said in a report last week that Samsung remained the clear leader in the worldwide smartphone market in the third quarter of 2014, but it was “the only company among the top five to see its shipment volume decline year over year.” Samsung is seeing “continued competitive pressure from nearly every side” IDC said.