Throughout the recent past, the United States has been the largest smartphone market in terms of shipping volume. This changed in the third quarter of 2011 as U.S. shipments fell and Chinese shipments increased, and the world's most highly populated country now stands at the forefront of this tech market, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The news source reports that this development is noted in the latest report by market research firm Strategy Analytics. Tom Kang, an analyst with this group, claimed that this stems from Chinese operators' subsidization of the Apple iPhone and other high-end smartphones and related smartphone accessories, along with a recent influx of low-priced devices running on the Android operating system.

As a result of these events in the market, Chinese smartphone shipments grew by 58 percent during Q3 of 2011 from their Q2 levels, reaching a total of 24 million units. While U.S. shipments stand at 23 million units, only slightly less than China's total, the American numbers represent a 7 percent drop from Q2 shipping totals.

If Android's popularity continues to increase in China and the nation adopts the iPhone 4S, these trends are likely to continue.

In mid-November, Gartner released figures stating that Android ran on 52 percent of the world's smartphones, according to the Guardian.