China smartphone market plummets as Apple gains ground

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Overall smartphone shipments in China are plummeting toward their lowest point in a decade, though signs indicate Apple is still faring well in the environment.

In the first half of 2022, the smartphone market declined 21.7% to 134 million shipments, according to information released by the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology that was seen by Nikkei.

Canalys data cited by the publication showed major drops in smartphone shipments from established domestic players like Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi.

There are a number of factors contributing to the decline, including a rate of smartphone ownership in China and the fact that consumers appear to be upgrading their devices less frequently. Covid-related economic disruptions are also playing a role.

China is one of the largest smartphone markets in the world, and a critical region for both domestic manufacturers and foreign companies like Apple.

There are signs that Apple is actually gaining ground in the declining smartphone market in China, however.

Back in July, monthly CAICT data indicated that international smartphone shipments in China — mostly comprised of Apple products — reached 3.5 million units in June. That's a million more shipments than the historical average of 2.3 million units.

During the month of June, Apple shipments increased 24% year-over-year amid the declining market.

Apple's strong performance in China and elsewhere appears to be driven by the iPhone 13 lineup, which is selling unusually well at this point in the year. The decline of Huawei in China and elsewhere is also playing a role.