Huawei is about to beat Apple out of China

  • Huawei is on the verge of toppling Apple’s spot as one of the top smartphone sellers in China.
  • Huawei’s smartphones had a huge surge in the country with sales growing 70 percent year-over-year.
  • Chinese customers could be turning away from US brands as America’s tech cold war against China continues.

It hasn’t been a standout quarter for the iPhone. As global smartphone shipments increased at the beginning of the year, iPhone shipments remained stagnant, while rival Samsung found the top of the sales leaderboard worldwide.

Now it seems that Apple’s foothold as one of the top smartphone movers in China is about to be toppled by the scruffy homegrown star, Huawei.

According to a report from CNN, amid rising tensions between China and the US over the sharing of digital technologies, Huawei has rocketed to the top of smartphones sales in the country, seeing a huge 70 percent year-on-year increase, while Apple’s own iPhone sales declined by 19 percent in the nation, according to market research.

“Apple’s sales were subdued during the quarter as Huawei’s comeback has directly impacted Apple in the premium segment,” explained Ivan Lam, a senior researcher at Counterpoint, the agency that conducted the market study.

Apple was leading in China’s smartphone sales across 2023, with a market share of nearly 20 percent, but now its iPhone devices have lost favour with the Chinese public, and has now fallen to the third best-selling in the first quarter of 2024.

Meanwhile, Huawei’s own story seems like the opposite. Sitting at just 9 percent market share in 2023, the local manufacturer has leapt to 15.5 percent at the beginning of this year. Now Apple’s smartphones command just 0.2 percent more market share than Huawei, and the Shenzhen beast is gaining.

China is Apple’s biggest iPhone market outside of the US, and Apple pays major manufacturers in the country to build parts of the devices.

But with the US’ continued cold war against Chinese tech, including the increasingly probable banning of TikTok in the country, bids to stop China from accessing America’s top silicon and lest we forget the Huawei vs. Google debacle, Chinese customers are turning to Chinese smartphones when they once considered Apple.

According to Counterpoint, Huawei is the fourth largest seller of smartphones, just beaten out by Apple, while Vivo and Honor represent the top-selling brands based on market share. If Apple’s decline in the country continues, all three of the top sellers in China will be from homegrown brands, meaning more Chinese money invested locally and not being sent to Cupertino, California.

[Image – Photo by Đức Trịnh on Unsplash]


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