Apple's iPhone 5S boosts fourth-quarter sales in China

New data shows the company's market share rose to 7 percent -- and that's even before the China Mobile deal.

Dara Kerr Former senior reporter
Dara Kerr was a senior reporter for CNET covering the on-demand economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado, went to school in New York City and can never remember how to pronounce gif.
Dara Kerr
Apple's iPhone 5S. Josh Lowensohn/CNET

Apple's iPhone 5S has proven to be popular in China.

The company sold a record number of smartphones in the country during 2013's fourth quarter, according to data from research firm IDC reported by The Wall Street Journal. These numbers were reportedly driven by demand for the iPhone 5S.

Apple's China market share rose from 6 percent in the third quarter of 2013 to 7 percent in the fourth quarter. This put it in fifth place for smartphone makers in the country, coming in behind Samsung, Lenovo, Coolpad, and Huawei, respectively. Samsung had 19 percent market share and Lenovo had 13 percent.

China is the world's largest smartphone market and Apple has long been trying to get a foothold there. Consumers in the country have tended toward phones on Google's Android operating system, which have a more varied price range.

However, Apple may see its China market share grow even more in coming years. In January, the company entered a partnership with China Mobile, the largest wireless carrier with 760 million customers. Analysts expect this partnership to account for somewhere between 15 million and 30 million more iPhone sales in 2014.

Last quarter, Apple reported record iPhone sales worldwide with 51 million smartphones sold. While these numbers were high for the company, analysts predict Apple's growth to slow over the next couple of years because of a saturated US smartphone market.