Apple’s iPhone becomes China’s best-selling smartphone for the first time

According to data from the International Data Corporation (IDC), the iPhone became the top-selling smartphone in China for the first time in 2023. Apple achieved a record-high market share of 17.3 percent during that year. In the fourth quarter, local competitor Huawei trailed behind Apple with a market share of 13.9 percent.

Apple has faced challenges in the Chinese market, prompting CEO Tim Cook to make two trips to China in an effort to protect the company’s position in this crucial international market. The sales of Apple’s latest model, the iPhone 15, have been underwhelming compared to previous iterations, as Huawei gained renewed popularity among Chinese consumers.

Read more: Step into the future: iPhone 15 and Apple Watch Series 9 released

Huawei’s Mate 60 Pro smartphone, released just weeks before Apple’s new model, outpaced the iPhone 15, according to analysts at Jefferies. Despite these challenges, Apple’s ascent to the top spot in 2023, particularly in the face of competition from Huawei and weak consumer spending sentiment, is a significant achievement, analysts say.

Timely price promotions drive demand

Arthur Guo, senior research analyst for IDC China, attributed Apple’s success to timely price promotions in third-party channels, which stimulated demand. However, the overall Chinese smartphone market experienced a decade-low slump in sales due to a weak economic recovery and subdued consumer sentiment. According to preliminary data from the IDC Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, China’s smartphone shipments totaled 271.3 million units in 2023, representing a 5.0 percent decline from 2022.

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