Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s market share in China could end up doubling in 2014 because of the less expensive iPhone 5C. That’s according to the latest data from research firm IDC.

apple china

Apple’s potential lies with China Mobile

Of course whether Apple’s Chinese market share really does double next year depends largely on whether it finally lands that seemingly elusive deal with China Mobile. According to IDC, total mobile phone shipments in China hit 110 million in the second quarter of the year. Of those shipments, 86 million of them were smartphones, which are growing by 10 percent quarterly.

According to IDC analysts, there are two main drivers of smartphone growth in China right now. One is big shipments of low-end smartphones which run on China Mobile’s 3G network. The other is shipments geared toward students who need a phone over summer vacation.

Will Apple’s fortunes in China start changing?

They note that low-end China Mobile smartphones have been the key driver for smartphone makers Lenovo and Coolpad. They also said that because sales of the iPhone 5 have been going poorly, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has seen its Chinese market share decline. However, they believe that will change with the launch of the two new iPhones, which have now been on the market since last Friday.

IDC estimates that smartphone shipments in China will hit 360 million this year and surpass 450 million next year as China Mobile rolls out 4G technology. This would benefit Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and 4G screen and chip vendors.

The firm also expects to see the market share of smartphones with a 5-inch or bigger screen to continue expanding. IDC projects that the 5-inch plus smartphone screen size market will jump from almost 20 percent of the Chinese market this year to more than 50 percent by 2017. Needless to say, if Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) doesn’t come out with a larger sized iPhone by then, it could end up back in the same boat it’s in now.