China outgeeks US as world’s biggest smart device market

China now has more active Android and iOS devices than any other country, knocking the US off the top spot.

According to mobile analytics firm Flurry, it now has 246 million devices in use, compared with 230 million in the US. Last year, the US had a narrow lead, at 222 million compared with 221 million.

“Year-over-year, compared to January 2012, the US added 55 million new devices. However, in that same time, China added a staggering 150 million new devices,” says Flurry’s Peter Farago in a blog.

“With its growth rate, China would have passed the US earlier, except for the US’s massive holiday season, which enabled the US to hold off China for an additional two months.”

But, however generous Americans turn out to be next Christmas, things aren’t ever likely to change back. China has over 1.3 billion people, after all, while the US has just over 310 million.

Unless everybody in the US gets breeding fast, the only country likely ever to take the top spot from China is India, says Flurry. India has a population of a little over 1.2 billion, and is growing much faster than China, thanks partly to China’s one-child policy.

“However, with only 19 million active smart devices in India, China will not likely see competition from India for many years,” says Farago.

Competition for third place is likely to be a lot stiffer. Currently, that spot’s held by the UK, at 43 million, followed by South Korea, Japan, Germany and France. However, the fastest-growing installed bases over the last year were Columbia, Vietnam, Turkey, Ukraine and Egypt.