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China tops U.S. as world's largest smart device market

The country is expected to finish the month with 246 million active Android and iOS smartphones and tablets compared with 230 million in the U.S., according to Flurry data.

Smart device market growth in the U.S. and China.

China is surpassing the U.S. as the world's largest market for active smart devices, according to new data released today.

A year after becoming the fastest-growing market for smart devices, China is expected to account for 246 million active Android and iOS smartphones and tablets at the end of February, compared with 230 million in the U.S., according to mobile analytics firm Flurry. That will reverse January's rankings, in which the U.S. held the top spot with 222 million smart devices compared with China's 221 million.

Flurry, which based its conclusions on the tracking of 2.4 billion app sessions each day, said it was unlikely China would relinquish that crown anytime soon.

"The U.S. will not take back the lead from China, given the vast difference in population per country," Peter Farago, vice president of marketing at Flurry, said in a statement. "China has over 1.3 billion people while the U.S. has just over 310 million. Considering that the U.S. has the world's third-largest population, the only other country that could feasibly overtake China sometime in the future is India, with a population of just over 1.2 billion."

However, despite its population size, India had an install base of just 19 million smart devices in January, making it tied with Russia and Brazil for ninth place overall. A distant third with barely 20 percent the market of the U.S. and China was the U.K., which counted 43 million smart devices last month. South Korea (30 million) and Japan (29 million) rounded out the top five.

In terms of growth last month, Colombia's 278 percent growth eclipsed China's 209 percent, as did Vietnam (266 percent), Turkey (247 percent), Ukraine (237 percent, and Egypt (211 percent).