China is set to overtake the US as the world’s largest mobile phone market

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For the first time ever China will beat out the U.S. in mobile phone sales in 2014, according to a new report out by international research firm Strategy Analytics. It will both sell more units, at 430 million and bring in more revenue at $87 billion. Meanwhile the US is expected to sell 267 million less units and bring in $27 billion less in revenue. This is a moment that surprises no one. For years, analysts have been portending the growing Chinese opportunity. With a bigger population of 1.35 billion, compared to the United States 313 million, less smartphone saturation, and a high growth rate of the smartphone industry, China’s new telecom perch is a natural conclusion.

Chinese consumers will spend more than $87 billion on mobile phones in 2014, a Wednesday report predicts, pushing revenues in the Asian giant’s mobile market well past those in the U.S. in advance of Apple’s planned Chinese retail expansion. In contrast, mobile phone revenues in the U.S. are forecast to reach just $60 billion this year, predictive analysis firm Strategy Analytics said. That would represent a 15 percent year-over-year increase in China against flat growth in the U.S. “China’s impressive mobile growth is being driven by the country’s rapid shift to 3G and 4G smartphones,” said Strategy Analytics senior analyst Woody Oh. Apple has played an important part in that shift, with the iPhone responsible for about half of the 2.8 million 4G subscribers on China Mobile, the world’s largest wireless carrier. Meanwhile, on smaller competitor China Telecom, the iPhone has helped boost 3G revenues by nearly 30 percent.

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