China now has 519.7 million smartphone users in 2014 according to an eMarketer study. A figure which should rise to more than 700 million in 2018 according to the research firm specializing in digital marketing. In other words, in the next four years, more than 177 million new users should in turn own a smartphone.
The study underlines that China is above all “mobile-first”, anticipating that smartphones will constitute the first means of access to the Internet in the country. Among the two age groups that should experience the strongest increases, 73.5% of 12-17 year olds should own a smartphone in 2018 (compared to 46.5% in 2014), and 77.1% of 35-44 year olds (against 46.2% this year).
These numbers come as Chinese smartphone brands ramp up. Xiaomi, Huawei and Lenovo are among the world’s top five smartphone sellers in the third quarter according to Gartner. Founded just four years ago, Xiaomi is said to be on the verge of raise $ 1 billion for a valuation of $ 45 billion.