iPhone shipments in China tumbled 14% in the last quarter, according to new figures published by Canalys.
In doing so, it left the market open for Huawei to continue its rise. Huawei, which overtook Apple in total smartphone sales last year, increased its shipments by 31% during the same period.
“Huawei’s addition to the United States Entity List caused uncertainty overseas, but in China it has kept its foot on the accelerator,” said Canalys analyst Mo Jia. “Its core strategy remains investing in aggressive offline expansion, and luring consumers from rival brands Oppo and Vivo, while unleashing a wave of marketing spend to support new channels and technologies.”
Canalys’ figures show that Apple shipped 5.7 million iPhones to China over the year’s second quarter. That works out as a 5.8% market share. It puts Apple behind Xiaomi, Vivo, Oppo and Huawei. Huawei is the clear winner — with 37.3 million phones shipping and 38.2% market share.
By comparison, this time last year Apple shipped 6.7 million iPhones to China. At the time, it had approximately 6.4% of the market.
Challenges for Apple in China
While these figures don’t show profitability, they do underline the challenges that Apple continues to feel in China. Tim Cook has frequently talked about China being Apple’s future biggest market. However, more recently it has also caused it a fair share of headaches.
iPhone sales declining in the region were the reason Cook had to adjust Apple’s projections at the start of 2019. This led to Apple stock tanking for a time. More recently, Apple has been trading as a proxy for the burgeoning U.S. vs. China trade war. Although that now looks to have calmed, tensions surrounding tariffs continue to dictate Apple’s share price.
One thing’s for sure: It’ll be very interesting to hear what Apple says about its China business during today’s quarterly earnings call.