Saturday, May 18, 2024

Infographic: Apple’s China Business Stays Volatile as Market Calms

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The closely watched Chinese smartphone market has stabilized at a lower level than previous, while Apple remained the single large seller whose sales in the country were subject to major fluctuations. In Q1 of 2024, 67.8 million smartphones of all brands shipped in the country, about as many as in Q1 of 2023, but fewer than in previous first quarters. This is according to Canalys. Apple was only the fifth biggest brand among smartphone makers that quarter, with the iPhone that is so crucial to its business slipping behind Vivo once more. Even further ahead in the Chinese market are domestic brands Oppo, Honor (previously owned by Huawei) and Huawei itself, which has recovered from a lull.

According the Economic Times, an increasing number of bans on iPhone use for official government-issued devices in certain provinces contributed to this. The moves are reminiscent of Huawei device bans in Europe and North America and China has been pushing stronger to lower reliance on American technology.

There were 10 million iPhones shipped in China in Q1 of 2024, down from 13.3 million one year earlier. As overall shipments stayed more or less the same in this time frame, domestic brands picked up the slack. While the market has somewhat stabilized, it is still a far cry from its heyday in mid-2019, when almost 100 million phones shipped per quarter. Even before the global outbreak of Covid-19, this started to decrease, however, amid the Chinese economy growing slower and domestic demand weakening – an issue that has only intensified post-pandemic.

Apple’s China sales have fluctuated between the same quarters of different years, dropping most recently. Other than with Chinese brands, fourth quarter sales also differed significantly from other quarters’, being much higher. This is likely due to the fact that new iPhone models are usually released in September.

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