iPhone sales in China continue to be impacted by Huawei's surprise return as a competitor in the premium smartphone market. , says a new report.
US sanctions on China last year appeared to have eliminated Huawei as a serious iPhone competitor, but the company surprised the world with the release of the Mate 60 …
The rise, fall, and rise of popularity of Huawei
Chinese brands have long had a significant advantage over Apple, finding local enthusiasm for what were then called phablets: large-screen phones that the Cupertino company did not produce.
Ironically, the release of Apple's iPhone 6, the first model to match the screen size offered by local brands, did Huawei a favor. Faced with tough competition, the company has stepped up its game, slashed prices on its premium models and played on patriotism to compete with the new generation of iPhones.
Huawei's advantage over Apple peaked in 2020. when the US imposed technology sanctions on China. This blocked the export of 5G chips from the US to China. Given that 5G capabilities were by then a must-have for any premium phone, Huawei's sales plummeted.
But this year, Huawei launched the hugely successful Mate 60, a premium phone with a 5G chip manufactured by by a Chinese company – something that technical experts thought was impossible at this point in time.
Surprise over this development was not limited to the technology sector – it was even raised by the US National Security Adviser during a recent White House press briefing. The two main theories are violation of sanctions in order to obtain American-made chips that were renamed Chinese, and industrial espionage, when China gained unauthorized access to the development of American chips.
China iPhone sales fall
China's iPhone sales have been hit significantly by unexpected competition, with latest Counterpoint data suggesting Apple's problem is getting worse. as Huawei's sales continue to rise.
“The clear standout in October was Huawei with an improving market situation on the back of the Mate 60 series devices. Growth was stellar thanks to marketing new launch and active media coverage of the “Made in China” chipset,” notes Chinese analyst Archie Zhang. “Demand continues to be in double digits and we are also seeing a halo effect with other models from the manufacturer performing well.”
Huawei smartphone sales grew 83% in October. , while Apple's own growth was 11%, much lower than what might be expected in the weeks following a new product launch.
A glimmer of hope in the iPhone 15 Pro Max
The iPhone 15 Pro Max seems to offer hope, however. Apple is reportedly all is still struggling to meet demand for some specific colors of the top model, suggesting sales will increase once that demand is met.