Apple's iPhone shipments plunge in China as Huawei tightens grip

Apple's iPhone shipments plunge in China as Huawei tightens grip

Apple iPhone sales plunged in China by 20 percent in the fourth quarter, according to an industry research firm, as the tech giant contends with slowing demand that led company executives to cut revenue guidance. IDC attributed the decline in iPhone sales in part to Apple's decision to raise prices on the product.

In the whole year, due to the slowdown in the macroeconomic growth, the long-term replacement cycle of consumers, and the diversion of fragmented smart terminals, the overall market shipments of domestic smartphones reached 397 million units in 2018, a year-on-year decline of 10%.

Curiously, Xiaomi, another China-based smartphone giant, had Apple-like troubles in the quarter: Its unit sales fell nearly 35 percent. Among them, Huawei and VIVO have shown growth despite the trend, and Apple's decline has reached 11.7%. Revenue from the iPhone slid 15 per cent in the October to December period.

The sales shortfall was reflected late last month in Apple's first-quarter earnings report.

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As noted, Huawei sales surged by 23 percent in the same quarter, indicating that this phone maker-which is now number two in the world ahead of Apple-has improved the quality of its products dramatically.

Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook has seen China as a key part of Apple's strategy: last fiscal year the company generated nearly US$52 billion in revenue from Greater China, a region that includes Hong Kong.

Counterpoint said iPhone sales in the fourth quarter, which includes India's electronics sales-heavy Diwali festival, fell 25 percent on the year, reducing total sales in 2018 to 1.7 million units from 3.2 million a year earlier. "Apple didn't seem to change its Chinese marketing plans". But my key takeaway is this: The IDC report proves that Apple blaming only China for its iPhone sales drop-off is a smoke screen: Its sales in China were only slightly worse than they were worldwide. But there's an unrelated reason, IDC says: Xiaomi suffered from "inventory corrections and an internal restructuring", the firm claims.

Wang Xi, a senior analyst of IDC China, said: 'The domestic smartphone market environment in 2019 doesn't look very optimistic. We've a long way to go before they become mainstream'.

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