Given its lack of entry-level models (and general lack of interest in them) I suspect Apple will settle out below Samsung and somewhere on par with one of the strong China OEMs, maybe even Lenovo, so somewhere between #2-5. Just a hunch.
@Krisi: You should wish Apple luck. Samsung's market in China is falling. There are better brands in China like Xiaomi, and they don't cost a ton like Samsung phones. Indigenous producers are more sought after in China, but it can also be seen that a healthy population of the demographic wants to invest in Apple products, and Apple has made a good decision. They would obviously not sail in a market they have no experience on. They?ve had working models and customer support and fan bases from China.
As you said, brand is a major factor in the choice of a phone in China. I don't think it's about money, it makes me think of Louis Vuitton bags and crazyness about them.
Now cost is very different for smartphones of equal performance/design/apps... I have a Xiaomi mi2s I paid less than 200€ and it's crazy how cheap it is. Apple made us think high-range is expensive, well it's not anymore.
I agree with your assessment as to how nutty some consumers in China could get over the high-end brands. No wonder Apple has been recruiting so many executives from high-end brandname companies over the last 12 months...
The way young generation in China uses phones, smartphones market is going to grow bigger and bigger. But there will be tough competition between APple and Samsung. Would be surprised if Samsung is lagging behind.
@Sheetal.Pandey, I don't think Samsung would be lagging behind either. But the fact is that Samsung has put itself in a much tougher spot as it has to spend more resources to fight against the local Chinese smartphone vendors at every price point.
Recently Chinese brand Xiaomi's Mi 3 mobile phone was launched in India. This mobile has excellent features matching all high-end phones. Mi 3 uses Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 8274AB 2.3GHz processor, Adreno 330 450MHz GPU, 2GB LPDDR3 RAM!! The display also reasonably matches any high-end phone. The cost is just Rs. 13,999/- in Inida (~USD 233).
There was a over-whelming response for grabing this phone. Two days back the website of one of the popular online shopping company Flipkart crashed due to heavy traffic due to more than 100K customers booking this phone in a short span of time.
If you scroll down, you would see a menu showing "Service" and under that it provides a list of service centers. It provides a number for customer care and provides chat support as well. The list of service center covers almost all regions of India. I do not know about the quality of service but it looks to me that they are well equipped for the job.
@junko.yoshida: One of the places apple leads is in its mobile phone sector. Chinese markets have too much competition but since it is a growing market with the rich population steadily on the rise, (and since they want premium looking phones rather than Gionee and Xiaomi) Apple will have a great time cruising in China.
@Sheetal: "...chinese models doesnt perform good over a long period of time..."
Well...what do you consider as "a long period" for phones? 2-3 years or more? I think the trend that have already started is changing phones within 1-3 years of time. I see this more for the younger generation and believe that this will increase further. Hence a phone that performs well over 5 years shall be good enough. I do not know much about Xiaomi, but have heard that Xiaomi has good reputation.
At one point of time all the analysts were predicting that Apple will release a bigger iPhone to compete with larger than normal pocket size smartphones but that did not happer and Apple managed to beat Samsung still. I think this shows quite a character of a company which is in the fast paced consumer tech world.
For those who can afford to pay the premium and are willing to be locked into the iWorld, Apple devices win out for their sheer ease of use and robustness. They have turned phones and tablets into appliances that you just need to turn on and start using. Android devices are too buggy for tech-phobic users.
I agree that Andriod is fast becoming what windows was for the PCs. Most of the companies have still not got the OS right and i have seen friends companining about frequent crashes and freeze of the OS on their devices.