"There will be no turning back this leadership changeover."
Much of the growth in smartphone shipments in China, and also for the other emerging markets such as India and Brazil, are being fuelled by mobile handsets running on Google's Android platform, said IDC.
"A lot of the Android models in China are priced competitively," said Melissa Chau, IDC's regional research manager.
"That is actually driving the huge growth."
Chau said the average price of a non-Apple smartphone in China sold for $324 excluding telco subsidies last year while an iPhone retailed at a much higher $760.