Apple shipments fall by a fifth in China

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According to a post on South China Morning, Apple reported a 19.9 percent decline in shipments, while still managing to climb one place to number 4.

In China, iPhone sales declined by almost 20% from the fourth quarter of 2017 to the fourth quarter of 2018, according to a new report from IDC.

Last year China's overall smartphone market fell 10.5%, including a 9.7% year-on-year drop in the fourth quarter, but Apple's weak performance will still worry investors. Global revenue slipped 5 percent to USD84.3 billion, with income from iPhones falling 15 percent.

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Apple's latest iPhone models, which are mostly priced above US$1,000, face a tough challenge from Chinese-brand devices that cost about half or a third less. Chinese vendor Huawei Technologies gained market share at the expense of Apple, despite the arrest of its finance chief on allegations of bank fraud.

Oppo and Vivo are also ahead of Apple thanks to minor increases, while Xiaomi saw shipments fall by 35 per cent. Xiaomi, which is expanding into Europe, now has 10 per cent of the market. The Chinese slowdown was the driving factor behind Apple's first revenue outlook cut in nearly two decades. Apple also didn't seem to work on its Chinese marketing plans -- an area that needs constant updating. Cook, however, emphasised the long haul, highlighting 19 per cent growth in services revenue, the Bloomberg report said.

Nobody told Huawei about the smartphone slump. That's despite grappling with an unusually turbulent few months during which its finance chief was arrested on allegations of bank fraud, and the USA marshalled its allies to try and block the company from selling next-generation networking equipment.

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For Xiaomi, the fall in shipments have been attributed to factors such as an adjustment in the company's product lines and inventory channels as well as a revamp of its internal organization. But IDC argues blazing-fast phones won't become the standard until 2020, because the rollout of 5G networks is just getting underway.

IDC said the market outlook for this year is not optimistic, and that competition for customers will be severe.

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