As of Q1 2014, 58% of the total active smart mobile devices, including smartphones and pads, were in third or lower-tier cities in China, according to the latest report released by Umeng, the mobile analytics and service provider of Alibaba Group.

Out of the 780 million active devices on Umeng covers, the active devices in third or lower-tier cities is 450 million, more than three times of that, 148 million, in the four first-tier cities, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen (There are 15 second-tier Chinese cities. The rest are the third or lower-tier.)

Active iOS devices in third or lower -tier cities as a percentage reached 54.5% in March 2014, up from 46.6% in the same month of last year. The Android saw an even bigger change that the share of the third or lower-tier cities increased from 50.5% to 60% from March 2013 to March 2014.

Source: Umeng
Source: Umeng
Source: Umeng

Samsung accounts for the biggest share in active Android devices in all cities. Xiaomi, the uprising star in Android device, is only No.4 in third or lower-tier cities while it’s No.2 in first-tier cities. The other three of the top five brands in lower-tier cities are Lenovo (No.2), Huawei (No.3) and Coolpad(No.5). When it comes to the most popular Android brands, the only difference is the position of Coolpad, a low-cost brand, is replaced by OPPO, a higher-priced one, in first and second-tier cities.

The most popular app categories in third or lower cities in China are wallpaper/theme, system management tools, video, music, gaming, photo editing, among others. While the most popular in first-tier cities are travel, navigation/maps, finance, education and business.

Tracey Xiang is Beijing, China-based tech writer. Reach her at

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