What you need to know
- Apple's iPhone shipments in China fell nearly 30% in Q3.
- 5.1 million shipments marks a 28% drop compared to last year.
- Apple's sales in the region have been impacted by anti-American sentiment stemming from the White House trade war and a ban on Huawei imports.
The research suggests that overall, China's smartphone market has shrunk by around 3% compared to last year, with Huawei extending its market lead in the region to 42.4%. In fact, Huawei shipped a whopping 41.5 million phones in Q3 2019, marking 66% annual growth compared to last year.
In contrast, Apple only shipped 5.1 million devices, down from 7.1 million this time last year. That marks a year on year fall of 28%, and a market share of just 5.2%. As 9to5Mac notes, Apple's struggles in China can in part be attributed to anti-American sentiment in the region stemming from the US-China trade war, as well as a ban on Huawei importing components into the US. As Canalys notes:
Of course, the reference to 5G could offer some insight into the drop in shipments. China has seen a higher adoption rate of 5G tech in terms of infrastructure compared to the rest of the world. Nikkei Asian Review notes that this has in part fuelled tensions between Washington and China over surveillance allegations. However this also could suggest that many customers in China are ready to make the switch to 5G right now. If the iPhone 11 doesn't offer customers the option to use 5G, perhaps many potential buyers have chosen to go with home-grown Huawei instead.
Apple can at least take solace in the fact that the iPhone 11 is proving popular amongst its customer base in the region, however the reports regarding "a looming challenge" seem to suggest that Apple's struggles in China may not be over. As the report notes one analyst had previously predicted that iPhone shipments in China could fall by as much as 50%, so whilst things haven't got that bad, the results for Apple in China is definitely not good.
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Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.
Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9