Lenovo's smartphone market share rose from 1.7 percent in 3Q11 to 14.8% in 3Q12, making it now the No. 2 smartphone brand, ahead of Apple (6.9 percent) and behind Samsung (16.7 percent).
The rise to the top of the domestic market is a sharp turn around from 2007, when the company sold its mobile phone division to an affiliated private equity group for US$100 million -- only to buy it back in 2009 for US$200 million.
Gartner said that it is the only local smartphone player that can compete with global top brands in China, thanks to its household brand recognition, nationwide distribution, strong portfolio and reasonable pricing. The brand is positioned at the mid-to-lower end which will drive much of its future growth, and this is where global brands are less competitive. It will also gain share from open markets where its brand and distribution are better established than local competitors.
The research firm concluded that these factors will help Lenovo achieve the top smartphone position in China, although its rise will not be without challenges.
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