Apple iPhone sales in China plummet 24% as Huawei smartphone sales surge

iPhone sales plunge in China amid stiff competition from Apple's rivals

Apple is having a rough start to the year for its iPhone sales in China, where sales were down 24% year-over-year in the first six weeks, according to a new report from research firm Counterpoint.

The analysts said the drop can mostly be attributed to stiff competition in the market, especially from China's Huaweii, which saw sales of its smartphones surge 64% over the same period compared to a year ago.

Huawei

China's Huawei saw domestic smartphone sales surge 64% year-over-year in the first six weeks of 2024. (REUTERS/Aly Song / Reuters Photos)

"Primarily, [Apple] faced stiff competition at the high end from a resurgent Huawei while getting squeezed in the middle on aggressive pricing from the likes of OPPO, vivo and Xiaomi," Counterpoint senior analyst Mengmeng Zhang, said in a statement.

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"Although the iPhone 15 is a great device, it has no significant upgrades from the previous version, so consumers feel fine holding on to the older-generation iPhones for now," Zhang added.

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Apple, Inc.

Shares of the iPhone maker were down 3% Tuesday and have lost about 10% of their value so far this year, underperforming their big tech peers in the United States.

Apple Inc.

Apple beat analysts' estimates on sales and profits last quarter primarily due to strong iPhone sales worldwide – except in China. (JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images / Getty Images)

Counterpoint's report said Apple's share of the Chinese smartphone market dropped to 15.7%, putting it in fourth place, compared with second place in the year-ago period when it had 19% market share.

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Apple beat Wall Street estimates on sales and profits last quarter, powered by growth in its iPhone business worldwide — but notably reported a lag in sales in China.

Apple CEO Tim Cook in China

Apple CEO Tim Cook waves as he arrives for the Economic Summit held for the China Development Forum in Beijing on March 23, 2019.  (NG HAN GUAN/AFP via Getty Images / Getty Images)

"We did feel good about the plus 6% (revenue growth) for iPhone," Apple CEO Tim Cook told Reuters in an interview last month. "We had particularly strong double-digit growth on iPhone in emerging markets outside of China. The iPhone is doing well in those markets."

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Cook added, "China is the most competitive smartphone market in the world, and that hasn't changed."

Reuters contributed to this report.