A few days ago there came this interesting news that Windows Phone has already overtaken iPhone in terms of market share in China. Apparently words first got loose from Emerce. The story is not in any language that I can personally read. But according to the retelling of other site such as WMPoweruser and WPCentral, Michel van de Bel, Microsoft’s COO of the Greater China Region, said in an interview that Windows Phone has already seized 7% of overall Chinese phone (or smartphone, not specified) market share, ahead of iPhone’s 6%. And all that happened in mere two months.
Now this is pretty interesting. I’m a Chinese phone watchdog living in the country’s capital City. On Beijing streets I’ve been witnessing iPhones literally everywhere, used by every kind of people. On the streets, in the subway, in restaurants, or even in the hands of courier boys. It’s basically normal for me to take a stroll anywhere in the town, and spot at least 10 iPhones. What about Windows Phone 7 devices? Well, except for my own old HD7, my wife’s Omnia 7, and various devices owned by the WPDang boys, I’ve found less than 5 of them in the wild since the beginning of 2011: one HD7, two Omnia 7 last year, one Lumia 800 last month, and one Lumia 710 last week.
The world’s a pretty funny place eh? This supernova grasping 7% of the national market is like ten thousand times harder to spot than its 6% follow-up. Nonsense, that’s what I’m feeling, subjectively.
Now objectively, let’s talk in earthling logic. Let’s assume the 7% figure is the market share in *smartphones* instead of all phones. Because, you know, with the incredibly huge number of mobile phone users in China, it’s obviously insane if anyone remotely suggests some new player could possibly take 7% of the whole cake in 2 months. Even if someone could sell a new product that fast, I doubt if any factory on this planet could manufacture fast enough to keep the supply up.
So far there’s no definite figure about the total number of Chinese smartphone users. However, according to Strategy Analytics, the total smartphone users in China has surpassed that of the USA by the end of 2011. The US smartphone user base has reached 100 million already. Let’s take that number for a quick math. Assuming China also has 100 million smartphone users, 7% of the whole market would be 7 million. We know Windows Phone 7 is a fresh starter, from ground zero. That would translate into “Windows Phone 7 OEMs managed to sell 7 million devices in China in no more than 2 months.”
Now how many Windows Phone 7 OEMs are actually selling their products in China now? The answer is TWO: Nokia and HTC. How many devices are they offering? THREE: Lumia 800, Lumia 710, HTC Titan (rebranded as Triumph). How many Chinese carriers have they been working closely with in that time frame? ONE: China Telecom, the smallest of China’s three carriers.
Now with the above facts, anybody still want to believe 7 million Windows Phone 7 devices have somehow been sold in 2 months, in China alone? That’s pretty crazy. I’ve tried hunting around the Chinese web trying to find supporting sources or figures. But all I could see is the Emerce story being translated into Chinese and spreading everywhere. Interesting, huh? Apparently something huge is happening in China, only the Chinese do not know about it, and have to get the news from foreign media.
There must be something terribly wrong on Microsoft’s or Emerce’s end. If possible, I’d like to see the transcription of Michel van der Bel, preferably with audio record. Here in the circle we all love Windows Phone 7. But fanboyism and unrealistically wishful thinking are not something we should dwell in.