China’s Smartphone Market: Local Brands Dominate but Apple Faces Significant Challenges

Decline of 30% in China’s Smartphone Market

In the first two months of 2024, the smartphone market in China experienced a significant decline. The smartphone shipments in February dropped more than 30% year-on-year, totaling 14 million units for the month. Local brands dominated the market, accounting for approximately 83% of the total shipments, while foreign products saw only about 2.4 million units shipped in February, marking a 31.7% decrease from the previous year.

However, despite this decline, local brands experienced a surge in demand in January with total smartphone shipments surging by 61.4% to 29.5 million units. With local brands dominating the market, Apple’s iPhone sales fell by 24% year-on-year in the first six weeks of 2024 according to Counterpoint Research.

Kuo Ming-Chi, an analyst at TF International Securities had predicted that annual iPhone shipments would decline by about 15%, posing a significant challenge for smartphone manufacturers particularly foreign brands as they struggle to maintain their market share in one of the most competitive environments globally. Falling demand and rapidly changing market dynamics will require innovative and adaptive strategies from all major players in the sector.

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