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China reports record sales and 33% growth in non-Android smartphones, casts doubt on 'peak iPhone'

Source: MIIT, Stifel

Last updated

China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has released data showing a significant drop in Android's share of smartphone sales in the December quarter, leaving a 33 percent gain for non-Android smartphones, a segment dominated by Apple's iPhone.

Stifel analyst Aaron Rakers reported on China's MIIT data release, as noted by Philip Elmer-DeWitt of Fortune in his analysis of iPhone sales.

Android was reported by China to have accounted for 81 percent of the nation's smartphone sales in the December quarter, down from 82.5 percent in the year-ago quarter, and substantially below the 88 percent share reported during the September quarter.

That means non-Android smartphones increased significantly, achieving a new record of 24.3 million units, up by a third from the year-ago quarter's 18.3 million in sales and up even more from the 14.5 million units sold in the September quarter. Apple's iOS represents 90 percent of non-Android smartphones in China

Apple's iPhone accounts for virtually all of the non-Android phones sold in China. According to independent data compiled by Kantar WorldPanel, the total share of BlackBerry, Windows, Tizen and all other platforms accounted for just 2.5 percent of China's smartphone sales. Kanter's data indicates that Apple's iOS represents 90 percent of non-Android smartphones in China.

Further, Kantar reported that outside of iOS, the market share of other non-Android platforms slipped between the data reported for September and October (the latest it has published) That further reinforces that any growth in China's non-Android smartphone sales were the result of an iPhone sales expansion.

In September, Apple's chief executive Tim Cook noted that the company was on track to exceed its 74.5 million iPhones sold in the previous December quarter. However, since then a series of supply chain rumors have asserted that Apple would cut orders from its suppliers in the March quarter, inciting a panic surrounding the idea that iPhone 6s sales are troubled.

A series of smartphone suppliers have also warned of worse than expected results for the December quarter, but their troubles may likely be linked to another supplier: Samsung, which has itself warned investors to expect poor smartphone performance under increased competitive pressure.

Apple has repeatedly warned that rumors of supply chain cuts do not and can not provide a clear picture into the company's operations. Previous rumors floated by the Wall Street Journal and Nikkei of supposed supplier cuts as large as 50 percent did not result in any observable change in the number of iPhones that were actually sold.