The app analytics firm Flurry reported this week that China is poised to become the world’s biggest market for Android and iOS devices, knocking the U.S. from the top spot. Consumers in the U.S. and China were using 222 million and 221 million such devices respectively by the end of January, Flurry said, and China will almost surely surpass America by the end of February. And as my colleague Erica Ogg notes, the huge population difference between the two markets all but ensures the U.S. will never lead again.
This isn’t unexpected, of course — China has long been touted as the world’s biggest mobile market, and Flurry reported last year that it had become the world’s fastest-growing market for smart devices. But what may be surprising is just how much growth potential remains there: Only 21 percent of all mobile subscribers in China access 3G networks despite a recent surge in 3G usage, and the Chinese government has yet even to commit to a time frame for issuing 4G licenses. China can be an exceedingly difficult market for outsiders — just ask Apple — but the country still has enormous room for growth as it approaches the 4G era.