Android is only starting to becoming popular in China thanks to companies like Huawei and ZTE mainly, but also thanks to other Android manufacturers. In the little time they’ve been trying to sell Android phones there, Android has already reached an unbelievable market share of 68.4%, which caused Nokia to cut its market share in half down to 18% (Nokia used to have a lot more in China, and were dominant), and Apple has only achieved a market share of 5.7%, which is 3x smaller even than their global average.
It doesn’t seem far fetched to believe that Android will maintain and probably even grow this lead up to 80% of the market in 2012, because of weak offerings from competitors, and because of the very high prices of iPhones in China, which most people wouldn’t afford anyway, even if they were subsidized. This even makes me think that if the iPhones weren’t so highly subsidized as they are in US, the iPhone’s market share would probably be a lot smaller there, too.
Huawei, the main player here is probably going to become very successful in China and also in the western world in the next few years. The quality of their devices is rising quite fast and each year, and they have even surpassed more recognized names like LG in almost everything from build quality to design and software. They might still be a little behind in specs, but they are catching up there very quickly, too.
The Chinese Government is probably not Google’s best friend there now, but others have tried to fork Android in China or put Baidu on Android phones, which means they’ve also lost access to the Android Market in most cases, and they haven’t been very successful. Android’s popularity throughout the world should ensure Google’s access to the Chinese market, and the manufacturers will have no choice but to use Google’s own version of Android, especially when they are innovating and updating so fast, like with the latest Android 4.0, which makes even lower end phones run a lot faster.
I get a feel that this year we’ll see Android break the 1 million activations per day, and then continue to grow even faster, further encroaching its territory in China where Apple is almost a non-competitor and Nokia is getting chased away from the market.