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February iPhone shipments in China sunk by 33% vs last year due to stiff competition

The Apple logo in fall

Apple is witnessing a substantial decrease in iPhone shipments in China, with a 33% reduction in February from the previous year. The decline is part of the trend of weakening demand for the Cupertino company's flagship device in its most crucial overseas market.

According to official figures, foreign brands shipped approximately 2.4 million smartphones last month, with Apple being the predominant figure. The downtrend also aligns with the Lunar New Year, which further impacts the sales figures. In January, Apple reportedly shipped around 5.5 million units, which is still 39% less than the year before, according to data from the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT).

Apple's struggle began with Huawei's resurgence in the premium smartphone segment in China back in September last year. Although Huawei is banned from international markets, it's still a formidable competitor in the South East Asian country. This, along with the slowdown in sales of its latest iPhone models, also led the U.S. company to offer rare discounts on its products in January. Nicole Peng, an analyst at Canalys, warns of a further potential slowing trend as Chinese smartphone makers aggressively promote smartphones with advanced AI capabilities.

It's still notable that the overall Chinese smartphone market shrunk by almost a third in February. Still, analysts are optimistic about market growth in the second half of the year despite expectations of continued deterioration in iPhone sales.

Recently, Apple was reportedly in talks with China's tech giant Baidu to bring AI-powered features to the iPhone, parallel to what the company is doing in partnership with Google in the West. It remains to be seen whether new software features or improvements in hardware can change the trends for the company. We also have WWDC 2024 coming up in a couple months where more news will be announced.

via Bloomberg

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