Google’s Android operating system is growing steadily in China, gaining about a three percent share each quarter, as consumers seek lower-priced Android devices which are being produced by local brands, according to a new Kantar Worldpanel ComTech report.

The Kantar report, which examines the Chinese mobile trend in Q3, pins Android’s market share in the country at 59 percent during the quarter, up from 55.5 percent in the previous quarter. Consequently, Apple’s iOS share has slid to 18 percent from 19.5 percent.

Yesterday we reported that Baidu, China’s dominant search company, found that the number of daily active Android users in China has surpassed 270 million — that’s nearly 30 percent of global Android activations to date.

The price of Android phones that Chinese consumers purchase has gone through a “major shift” over the past year, Kantar notes. Instead of purchasing devices that are in the price range of CNY1,000 ($164) – CNY2,000 ($328), more people are purchasing sub-CNY1,000 handsets. At the same time, there is an upward trend too — as more people are also purchasing CNY2,000 – CNY3,000 ($492) devices.

The report finds that Samsung ranks number one in the total number of smartphones sold in China, followed by Apple, then Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi. These three brands account for 60 percent of total smartphone sales in the country.

Xiaomi has nearly doubled its share of smartphone sales in China over the last 12 months — from 6.6 percent in Q3 2012 to 12.7 percent in Q3 2013. Kantar says that “Xiaomi is challenging the No. 2 spot” — as Apple’s share has slid from 24.7 percent in the third quarter last year to 13.8 percent this year.

Kantar also notes that almost one out of four smartphone sales were made via online channels during the quarter, as physical stores continue to lose favor with consumers.

This latest report is even more proof that the world’s largest smartphone market is a thriving Android marketplace — and as more Chinese are increasingly accessing the Internet via their mobiles first, Android is the operating system that will likely continue dominating the country.

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