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Apple overtaken by local brands in China

News, 13 July 2016

SHANGHAI: Apple's iPhone has slipped out of the top smartphone brands in China as local players build market share in the country's fiercely competitive market.

Chinese smartphone brands, including Huawei, Vivo, Oppo and Xiaomi, now make up more than half of all smartphone shipments in the country, with Apple dropping to fifth position behind them, although it remains the most popular non-Chinese brand in the market.

New data from Counterpoint Research, reported by Bloomberg, revealed that Apple's market share in China dropped from 12% to 10.8% in the twelve months to May.

Huawei, which has introduced smartphone models at a much lower price point than Apple, extended its market share to 17%. And Oppo has doubled its market share and now sits on 11% of total shipments, just ahead of Apple.

The slipping market share reflects a tough twelve months for Apple in its largest international market. Sales for Greater China – which includes Hong Kong and Taiwan - have dropped more than 26% on the 2015 March quarter. The company's revenues across Asia-Pacific as a whole were also down a full 25%.

Its position has not been helped by the variety of legal and regulatory issues it is having to deal with.

For example, the availability of movies and books though Apple's iTunes service was ceased in China just six months after launch, after Chinese regulators cracked down.

Apple also lost a recent court battle to protect the iPhone trademark after it was printed on leather goods, and is currently appealing a decision regarding patent protection that may see the company unable to sell iPhone 6 or 6S models in Beijing.

Data sourced from Bloomberg; additional content by Warc staff