IPhone shipments plummet in China as Huawei tightens grip

Cornelia Mascio
Febbraio 11, 2019

Huawei, which briefly surpassed Apple to become the world's No. 2 smartphone brand in 2018, remains the runaway leader at home.

The US-based company's revenue from the iPhone slid 15 percent in the October to December period.

IDC said that Chinese tech company Huawei saw smartphone shipments rise 23.3 percent in the fourth quarter, allowing the firm to cut into Apple's market share.

"The imbalance between the increasingly severe domestic market environment and Apple's high product unit price has led to the declines of iPhone shipments in Chinese market", IDC said in the Chinese-language research report shared on its official WeChat account.

However, as per the IDC report, the iPhone maker isn't the worst performing brand as Xiaomi Corp, another China-based company, fared even worse in the final months of a year ago as its shipments plunged nearly 35 percent. 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.

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.

However, with the country announcing its slowest economic growth since 2009, Apple said its sales fell 27 percent in the holiday quarter. The Chinese slowdown was also the driving factor behind Apple's first revenue outlook cut in nearly two decades. That's despite grappling with an unusually turbulent few months during which its finance chief was arrested on allegations of bank fraud, and the USA marshaled its allies to try and block the company from selling next-generation networking gear.

Apple was ranked fourth by shipments in the country during the period, following Oppo and Vivo, IDC said. Fifth-ranked Xiaomi, a Chinese name that experienced rapid growth just before its 2018 initial public offering, incurred a 34.9 per cent plunge in shipments thanks to inventory corrections and an internal restructuring, IDC said.

Lei Jun, Xiaomi's billionaire co-founder, is among those who expect the advent of 5G to energize demand.

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