Brand is identity; from our sneakers to our coffee cup, we like to make sure our logos line up with our egos. And it’s especially true of the coveted digital sidekicks to China’s growing middle class; the smartphone.

We know iPhones now outweigh other brands in China’s top tier cities, while Android still reigns dominant countrywide with homegrown startups like Xiaomi carving out a mind-blowing consumer following, but what do these superstar brand say about the people who use them?

Chinese news aggregator app Toutiao asked exactly that question. Using data aggregated from personal metrics, news preferences, and browsing data, they went on a mission to find out what exactly your smartphone says about you.

So What Are People Using China’s Top Selling Smartphones For?

If you have an iPhone in China, you are more likely to like cars than other users. How anyone can get excited about driving cars on China’s congested highways is a question in it’s self; but with iPhones being the most expensive consumer option in smartphones, it’s logical that the same users may have a taste for expensive cars.

While Samsung may have been robbed of the top spot in sales, they can at least boast about being worldly as the brand which prefers international news most over its competitors. Huawei and Xiaomi users have an appetite for history and local politics, though they fall short when it comes to engaging with foreign issues.

Girls Are From ViVO And Boys Are from Coolpad

Interested in fashion, mothering, health and women’s affairs? Statistics say you’ll prefer a ViVO or and OPPO phone. While both men and women enjoy Xiaomi and Samsung phones, the numbers also reveal that men have a higher preference for Xiaomi ranking it second, while women rank them third. Coolpad users are not only predominantly male, but they also tend to be older than the users of other brands.

Nubia and HTC users tend to be more tech-savvy and prefer news on digital products, technology and cars, while K-touch and ZTE owners tag military and current political affairs as their favorites.


Smartphones And Age

As a country with a strong mobile-first user base, China has a surprisingly savvy population of older mobile users, but age is reflected in brand.

Samsung is ranked as the most popular brand among the 41-50 age group with a 18.4% share, whist Xiaomi and Apple follow with 13.42% and 13.24%, respectively. Apple wins the 31-40-years-old user-group closely with a 8.85% share as opposed to Samsung’s 8.73%. On top of that, Apple dominates the younger groups too, aged 18-30, followed by Xiaomi and Samsung. Domestic smartphone makers Huawei, Lenovo and Coolpad took the fourth to sixth spots across all age groups.

Articles related to Xiaomi scored over 1.2 billion of views, followed by Samsung (747 million), Lenovo (699 million) and Huawei (623 million).

According to the report, Guangdong Province, where the manufacturing hub Shenzhen is based, has a higher percentage (3.92%) of users who enjoy reading smart-device related articles. Shanghai, Fujian, Zhejiang and Hubei followed with 3.79%,  3.75%, 3.67% and 3.47, respectively.

MIUI was hotly discussed among Xiaomi users. Product design is a priority for ViVO users, while price is a more crucial a factor for Meizu followers. ZTE owners are particularly image conscious and value selfie features. App fans have a love for the iPhone’s screen and the Siri function. Interestingly, users also prefer to browse smartphone related news between 9-11 PM.


Launched in August 2012, Toutiao is a feed reader that uses cumulative usage to feed its smart algorithm. As of present, the app claims to have more than 270 million registered users and over 25 million daily active users.

Image Credit: Toutiao

Emma Lee (Li Xin) was TechNode's e-commerce and new retail reporter until June 2022, when she moved to Sixth Tone to cover technology and consumption. Get in touch with her via or Twitter.

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