I guess consumers are the same all over the world whether you are in the U.S. or in China, they move with the times, changing their preferences. Apple's iPhone once had a cult-like following, with lines of people waiting to make their purchase each time a new model released, but in the "most used smartphone brand" and "most anticipated smartphone purchase," Apple's numbers have fallen considerably since mid-to-late 2012, while Samsung's numbers have risen on a consistent basis.
Apple's iPhone is now only 1-percent ahead of Samsung Electronics in "brand recognition" and according to TrendForce's study, another statistic of note is that while Nokia and HTC are behind Samsung and Apple in "brand recognition," neither are as popular this year as last year. When consumers were asked what smartphone brand "immediately come(s) to mind," Again, Apple was only 1-percent ahead of Apple. So while Samsung was considerably behind Apple in China's popularity, in the past years, Samsung has gained significant ground to where they are almost equally liked and recognized.
Samsung has been able to rely on its high-end smartphone sales to make up for its lack of mid-to-low range sales. These flagship phones are bringing more recognition to the Samsung name, was well as the fact that users in China look to a devices usability and price over a brand's hardware specifications...possibly those many Samsung features are winning over new customers.
As Samsung's brand recognition and sales are on the rise in China and as Apple's continue to drop, some new players have entered the market in China and in the "brand recognition" category Xiaomi, Lenovo, Huawei, were positioned at fifth, sixth, and seventh spots, respectively, and they are all China companies.
Huawei is gaining grounds with its smartphone reputation, while Lenovo, one of the largest companies in China, known for its PC business, has decided it needs to move into the table and smartphone fields to stay competitive. This could spell trouble for both Apple and Samsung's dominance in the next year, especially if the Lenovo K900 model is any indication of what's to come.