China now world's biggest smartphone market

China accounts for nearly 40 per cent of the global smartphone market, as of the third quarter, industry researchers said on Wednesday.

The nation also enjoys the highest shipment growth rate in the world.

Third-quarter smartphone shipments to China stood at roughly 100 million, according to research firm Canalys.

Samsung took nearly 20 per cent of the market share while local vendors were posting a stronger threat to the South Korean smartphone maker.

"Lenovo, Yulong and Huawei Technologies are closely following Samsung," said Nicole Peng, research director at Canalys China.

Apple's new strategy to prioritize China as one of the initial launch countries for its new products has seen the company clinch fifth spot, said Peng.

Apple was followed by Xiaomi and ZTE.

The research found that large-screen smartphones - 5 inches and above - are grabbing market share from smaller-sized products.

About 56 million large-screen smartphones were shipped worldwide in the quarter ending in September and their market share reached its highest level, accounting for 22 per cent.

The US-headquartered consultancy IDC estimated China's smartphone shipments will exceed 450 million by 2014, boosted by the increasing penetration rate of mobile devices and the upcoming 4G networks.