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Apple takes top spot as China stems its smartphone sales decline

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New figures from Counterpoint Research say that Apple was the number one smartphone reseller in China both in the latest Q4 2023 figures, and across the whole of 2023.

Following IDC's report that Apple has topped China's smartphone sales chart, Counterpoint has released more figures that agree the market's long-running decline appears to have been halted.

"China's smartphone sales bottomed out in Q4 2023, increasing 6.6% YoY to mark the first quarterly YoY growth after 10 consecutive quarters of YoY declines," said the research firm. "Huawei's comeback with its own 5G chipsets continued to attract consumers, while Xiaomi and HONOR sustained strong performance with double-digit growth."

A graph showing Counterpoint's estimates of China smartphone sales Q4 2022 to Q4 2024
Counterpoint — China smartphone sales Q4 2022 to Q4 2024

Despite the renewed interest in local smartphone manufacturers, though, Apple beat them both to take the top spot. "Apple's sales dropped 9.0% YoY in Q4 while Huawei's sales rose 71.1% driven by its 5G chipset," said Counterpoint.

"Apple ranked first with 17.9% share, followed by vivo (16.9%) and OPPO (16.2%)," it continued. "However, from an annual perspective, China's smartphone sales still declined 1.4% YoY, compared to a 13.9% YoY decline in 2022."

For 2024, Counterpoint predicts "low single-digit YoY [Year over Year] growth for China's smartphone market, bringing it back to growth after five years."

These figures for China in 2023 follow Counterpoint's 2022 report, which said that the iPhone 13 was the most popular smartphone in the country that year.