China’e mobile phone audience has reached all new heights this past year. A report from Umeng indicates that over 700 million smartphones have gone active in the country. Out of the devices that were activated, 41 percent of them were from first-time buyers, while the remaining 59 percent consists of upgrades.

That continues China’s leadership in he worldwide smartphone market, an achievement it’s held since November 2011, despite slowing sales.

Games are a very important category for smartphone users in China, as it is in the rest of the world, and Chinese mobile gamers are getting more dedicated. “The term ‘casual games’ is becoming a misnomer as users are spending large blocks of time playing these games rather than dipping in and out as was once the case,” said Umeng in the report. Games are increasingly licensed rather than pirated. By December 2013, 20 percent of the top 100 games in China licensed third-party intellectual property, compared to just 13 percent in June 2013. Popular titles included “Dad Where Are We Going” and “Despicable Me.”

Out of the phones sold, most were budget models, with 57 percent consisting of Android devices that retail for less than $350 in U.S. funds. That doesn’t mean there wasn’t demand for higher-priced headsets, however, as 27 percent of the market belonged to models costing over $500. 80 percent of those sold were iPhone models.

Social media plays a huge part when it comes to smartphone usage. A number of social-related apps grew in numbers last year, including WeChat, which grew a whopping 8,600 percent between March and November.

55 percent of the top 1,000 apps have some sort of linkage to social media, including programs like MomentCam and Crazy Guess Figure.

Source: TechCrunch