Apple Tops Smartphone Shipments In China For The First Time, Says Canalys

Apple has topped smartphone shipment numbers in China in Q4 2014, according to analyst firm Canalys. The popularity of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus helped push the California gadget-maker ahead of its homegrown competitors, seeing it ship more than Xiaomi and Huawei, and putting it out in front of Samsung, which placed third overall. Canalys credits the large screen of the newest smartphone models, along with proper support for China’s LTE networks, good launch timing, and a crackdown on gray market exports from the nearby Hong Kong market for the iPhone’s significant win in the key Chinese market.

This makes the first time Apple has led the rankings of smartphones as measured by devices shipped according to Canalys. It’s a tremendous feat considering that most of its handsets come in at almost twice the retail cost of flagship hardware from competitors like Xiaomi, which has itself proved a formidable presence in the Chinese smartphone ecosystem. Xiaomi became the leader in China’s smartphone market in Q2 2014, per the research firm, pushing Samsung down the list.

Samsung’s slide is another key takeaway from this new report, as the Korean device maker continues to struggle to find positive growth for its global smartphone efforts. That company reports its earnings Thursday, so we should get a better picture at how it’s doing on a worldwide scale at that time.

Apple’s earnings are out later today, and this only serves to reinforce the prevailing impression that we’ll see huge iPhone sales and big revenue, as is the consensus of most analysts making predictions ahead of the big reveal. We’ll have all the results, as well as earnings call coverage starting this afternoon once the information is out.