Published: Thu, February 14, 2019
Finance | By Loren Pratt

Apple iPhone shipments dive in China as Huawei digs in

Apple iPhone shipments dive in China as Huawei digs in

The California-based firm commanded just a 9.1 percent of the Chinese smartphone sector past year, placing it fifth among all makers, Beijing News reported today, citing a publication from market researcher IDC.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said when Apple announced its revenue miss in January that almost all of the revenue miss can be attributed to China.

Apple no longer breaks out detailed numbers on iPhone shipments in its quarterly results, meaning that surveys and channel checks by the likes of IDC are often the clearest indicators of shifts in sales.

Apple revised its guidance ahead of that report in early January, when it said a weakening economy in China and the strength of the USA dollar were to blame for weaker-than-expected iPhone revenue.

In response, the company has announced that it will be introducing price cuts to markets which have been affected by a stronger United States dollar with China likely being one of these markets given that third-party retailers such as are already selling iPhones at 20% lower prices.

Apple reported a 19.9% decline in shipments in China for the fourth quarter while Xiaomi fared even worse with a 34.9% decline during the same period. "Apple didn't seem to change its Chinese marketing plans". The Chinese slowdown was the driving factor behind Apple's first revenue outlook cut in nearly two decades.

Huawei had briefly trumped Apple to get to the No. 2 spot in the world. The Chinese tech giant saw its shipments in the homeland increase by 23.3 percent during the most recent quarter, pushing its local market share to an impressive 29 percent.

Apple was ranked fourth by shipments in the country during the period, following Oppo and Vivo, IDC said.

The industry is now counting on innovations such as foldable screens, 3D cameras and 5G-ready phones to revitalise the market. But IDC argues blazing-fast phones won't become the standard until 2020, because the rollout of 5G networks is just getting underway.

"The domestic smartphone market environment in 2019 doesn't look very optimistic", IDC senior analyst Wang Xi said in the report.

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