It appears that China is now the world’s largest smartphone market, and I can’t see that changing soon.
The west is reaching smartphone saturation level so there’s not much room for new expansion (just on-going replacement at contract renewal time) while China with its billion+ population numbers (and fast growing middle class) has vast potential for whichever of the manufacturers can really get in there. It may mean a bit of sucking-up to the Chinese ruling party in order to get full trading authority but (as Google found, it turned out rather counter-productive when they got in a huff over official restriction and routed their Chinese search service to / via Hong Kong), sometimes if you want to be on the inside then things just have to be suffered.
Must not forget India too. Another billion+ people with currently virtually no smartphone penetration though currently showing little signs of immediate growth. A situation where China was a couple of years ago; so who’s to tell the future there. However in these countries, where disposable income is so much less than in the west, it will probably be the low cost smartphone manufacturers who will end up dominating the market.
So is it time for the manufacturers to look away from the west and divert their efforts towards a more eastern market?