Apple became the dominant phone brand in China in October of 2021

Pink Iphone
Pink Iphone (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • Apple became the top smartphone brand in China in October of 2021.
  • The success of the iPhone 13 drove an increase in sales of 46 percent month over month.

The iPhone is the largest phone brand in China for the first time in six years.

New data from Counterpoint Research has indicated that Apple surpassed vivo to become the largest smartphone brand in China in October of 2021. The iPhone 13 apparently increased sales 46 percent month over month while the overall market grew only 2 percent.

Tarun Pathak, a Research Director, said that the top brand has been changing on the regular since the decline of Huawei.

"Ever since Huawei's decline, the top position in China has been changing hands. OPPO became #1 in January 2021 while vivo attained the top position in March 2021. The market dynamics in changed again in October with Apple becoming the new #1 OEM for the first since December 2015. This was driven by the success of the iPhone 13 series, which was also launched cheaper than the iPhone 12 series in China. Huawei has been resilient in the premium segment in China, but this seems to be changing now. Apple, with its strong brand equity, is gaining the maximum from the gap left by Huawei in the premium segment. Apple could have gained more if it were not for the shortages, especially for the Pro versions. But still, Apple is managing its supply chain better than other OEMs.

Senior Analyst Varun Mishra said that demand on Apple's new iPhones cannot keep up with the supply chain issues Apple, like all brands, is experiencing.

"Due to supply issues, the normal wait time for the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max ranges between four and five weeks in China. Some Chinese customers choose to pay premiums to get the new phones delivered immediately. Overall, the China market has been slow throughout the year and Apple's growth is a positive sign. It indicates that Chinese smartphone users are maturing fast and are looking to buy more high-end devices, which can be a good opportunity for brands. The supply chain is also prioritizing higher-end and higher-margin devices amid the shortages."

According to the report, the last time that the brand achieved this status was in December of 2015.

Joe Wituschek

Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.