As Apple and Samsung continue to steal most of the headlines in the heated battle for smartphone supremacy, the two companies actually lost market share in the first quarter of 2014.

Samsung's share dipped by 1.7 percentage points, to 30.2 percent, from 31.9 percent; Apple's share slipped 1.6 percentage points, to 15.5 percent, from 17.1 percent, according to a recent report from IDC.

While the U.S. saw big shipment numbers for the first quarter, shipping over 33 million smartphones, China tripled that number with more than 100 million smartphones during the same period. Research firm Gartner expects over 440 million smartphones to be shipped in China for 2014, accounting for more than 35 percent of total smartphones shipped during the year globally, making the country the world's largest smartphone market.

While the smartphone market in China is dominated largely by South Korea's Samsung, Chinese firms Lenovo, Huawei, ZTE and Xiaomi have all made major plays for market share in the last year.

A recent report that looked at shipment forecasts from different vendors in 2014 for China shows both Lenovo and Huawei are expected to reach 50 million units. ZTE's and CoolPad's shipments are expected to reach 35.5 million units each. TCL has shown a significant growth as well, with shipments expected to exceed 26 million units in 2014, ranking number five on the list. Gionee and Xiaomi, second-tier vendors, are expected to ship 20 million units each.

While Apple enjoyed a great first quarter at home in the U.S., its market share in China sits at number four with just a 9 percent share. However, that actually represents an slight jump for Apple as after years of negotiations, Apple finally began selling iPhones in January this year for the first time through China Mobile, the country's largest carrier with over 781 million customers.

The top four smartphone makers in China, with regard to market share, are Samsung at number one with 18 percent, Lenovo next at 11 percent, Xiaomi in third at 10 percent, followed by Apple with its 9 percent share.

A niche player for years, Xiaomi's growth in China has surprised many experts as Nicole Peng, an analyst with Canalys, recently said, "The way Xiaomi has progressed so fast, most people in the industry didn't expect it."

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