Apple remained the fourth largest smartphone vendor in China in 2016, beaten out by Oppo, Huawei, and Vivo in first, second, and third places, respectively, according to new data from research firm IDC. As a whole, IDC said it was a good year for the smartphone market in China, which saw a 19 percent year-over-year growth in 2016, and a 17 percent quarter-over-quarter growth in the fourth quarter of the year.

Unfortunately for Apple, 2016 also represented its first ever year-over-year decline in the Chinese smartphone market. IDC noted that the new iPhone 7 debut "did not create as much of a frenzy compared to the past" launch of other iPhone models, but the firm doesn't think that vendors like Oppo, Huawi, and Vivo are stealing Apple's market share away. IDC believes that most of Apple's loyal Chinese users simply took an off year in 2016 in anticipation of 2017's "iPhone 8."

iphone 7 plus colors

2016 was the first time ever that Apple saw a YoY decline in the PRC market. Even though the new black colored iPhones caught the attention of consumers, overall, the new launches did not create as much of a frenzy compared to the past.

Despite the decline, IDC does not believe Chinese vendors have actually eaten away Apple's market share. Most Apple users are expected to be holding out for the new iPhone that will be launched this year, and that will help the brand to see a growth in 2017. Apple's 10-year anniversary iPhone will also likely attract some of the high-end Android users in China to convert to an iPhone.

The overall growth in the smartphone market in China is said to be fueled by an "increased dependence on mobile apps" that led to consumers seeking device upgrades. Even in lower tiered cities, users sought out upgrades, which Apple's iPhone was too high-priced to justify. Instead, Oppo and Vivo "aggressively pushed mid-range smartphones in these cities," according to Tay X iaohan, IDC senior market analyst.

IDC china smartphone 1
The last note in the research firm's report focused on the slowdown of online shopping in 2016, with companies shifting to bolster their brick-and-mortar retail presence in China. This includes Xiaomi -- ranking as the fifth largest smartphone vendor -- which opened new Mi Home stores throughout the year to drive retail growth. "Apple has also been aggressive in increasing its offline retail presence," according to IDC. Just last month Apple launched its seventh retail location within Shanghai, China.

IDC china smartphone
One of Apple's biggest achievements in China is the App Store. In the third quarter of 2016, the country became the number one largest market in the world for App Store revenue on iOS devices, according to App Annie. Otherwise, Apple has been slowly losing market share in China for a while, with Europe last summer regaining its position as Apple's second biggest market after the United States and ahead of China.

Tag: China

Top Rated Comments

Kaibelf Avatar
53 months ago
In other news, more people buy McDonalds burgers than buy steak dinners. That doesn't mean they can't coexist.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Luke MacWalker Avatar
53 months ago
And Samsung disappeared from the top 5 in China. Who could have told this based on the declarations of the "analysts" one or two years ago ? ;)
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nocturnum Avatar
53 months ago
I never understood how a phone that is expensive to most of us in the west is affordable in countries like China or India.

Considering what the annual wage is in India how can an iPhone of any description be affordable?
China has roughly 1.400.000.000 people. If 5% has decent wages, this means 70.000.000 potential customers. Get it?
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
tmartine Avatar
53 months ago
And Samsung disappeared from the top 5 in China. Who could have told this based on the declarations of the "analysts" one or two years ago ? ;)
Seriously... Chinese are eating Samsungs lunch on the low end and Apple is kicking their butt in the high end... doesn't look good for them or other Japanese and Korean manufacturers...
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Sasparilla Avatar
53 months ago
In a country where the average wage is a pittance of what it is in the Western World, that vendors with much cheaper handsets (and links with the country's authoritarian government) are grabbing market-share as more and more of the population buys mobile handsets is not a surprise. JMHO...
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TallManNY Avatar
53 months ago
China has roughly 1.400.000.000 people. If 5% has decent wages, this means 70.000.000 potential customers. Get it?
And even if that 5% doesn't at first blush seem to make that much each year, the cost of living is much lower. You can make $100,000 a year in China and that means you can have a full-time maid/cook. When food and other daily expenses are really cheap, you can splurge on stuff like an iPhone if you want.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

bloodoxygenapplewatch

Apple Watch Series 7 to Gain Breakthrough New Health Feature

Friday March 5, 2021 5:34 am PST by
Apple is reportedly planning to bring a new, first-of-its-kind health technology to the Apple Watch Series 7, in what could be a breakthrough for managing conditions such as diabetes more easily. According to a recent report from ETNews, the Apple Watch Series 7 will feature blood glucose monitoring via a non-invasive optical sensor. Measuring blood glucose levels, also known as blood...
imac pro featured black

Apple Confirms iMac Pro Will Be Discontinued When Supplies Run Out, Recommends 27-Inch iMac

Saturday March 6, 2021 7:33 am PST by
Apple on late Friday evening added a "while supplies last" notice to its iMac Pro product page worldwide, and removed all upgrade options for the computer, leaving only the standard configuration available to order for now. We've since confirmed with Apple that when supplies run out, the iMac Pro will no longer be available whatsoever. Apple says the latest 27-inch iMac introduced in August...
Top Stories 48

Top Stories: iPhone 13 Leaks, OLED iPads and Macs, New AirTags Evidence

Saturday March 6, 2021 6:00 am PST by
iPhone rumors are heating up, with noted analyst Ming-Chi Kuo this week releasing a wide-ranging report outlining his expectations for the iPhone lineup over the next three years. This week also saw rumors about OLED displays potentially coming to iPad and Mac starting next year, increasing signs of AirTags functionality in iOS 14.5 betas, and more, so check out all of the details below! i...
Screen Shot 2021 03 08 at 1

Leaker Suggests Apple Event to Be Held on March 23

Monday March 8, 2021 2:25 am PST by
Apple will hold its first event of the year on March 23, according to information provided by a reputable Chinese leaker (via DuanRui). Apple is expected to launch AirTags, new iPads, and possibly updated AirPods at a spring event, and leaker "Kang" believes that date will be March 23. Initial speculation pointed to an event happening on March 16; however, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman shot down...
apple products refurbished store banner

Class Action Lawsuit Over Apple Providing Refurbished Replacement Devices Proceeding to Trial in August

Friday March 5, 2021 9:53 am PST by
Initially filed in 2016, a class action lawsuit that accuses Apple of violating the Magnusson-Moss Warranty Act, Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, and other U.S. laws by providing customers with refurbished replacement devices is set to proceed to trial August 16, according to a notice this week from law firm Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP. Apple's repair terms and conditions state that,...
iOS 14

Apple Releases iOS and iPadOS 14.4.1 With Security Fixes

Monday March 8, 2021 10:01 am PST by
Apple today released iOS and iPadOS 14.4.1, minor security updates that comes more than a month after the release of the iOS 14.4 update. The iOS and iPadOS 14.4.1 updates can be downloaded for free and the software is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the new software, go to Settings > General > Software Update. According to Apple's release...
iPhone 13 Notch Feature2

iPhone 13 Rumor Recap: Smaller Notch, Larger Batteries, 120Hz for Pro Models, Improved 5G, Wi-Fi 6E, and More

Friday March 5, 2021 8:20 am PST by
While we are likely at least six months away from Apple unveiling the so-called iPhone 13 lineup, rumors about the devices are starting to accumulate, so we've put together this recap of everything that is expected so far. The upcoming iPhone 13 lineup will consist of the same four models and the same screen sizes as the iPhone 12 lineup, according to reputable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo,...
imac pro while supplies last

iMac Pro No Longer Custom Configurable, Available 'While Supplies Last'

Friday March 5, 2021 10:14 pm PST by
Apple appears to be on the verge of discontinuing the iMac Pro, with the store page for the high-end all-in-one Mac including a "While supplies last" tagline and only the base model with no custom configurations available for purchase. The iMac Pro launched in December 2017, and while there have been a few tweaks to the available configurations over the years, it has received no substantial...
apple mixed reality headset mockup feature

Kuo: Apple to Launch Mixed Reality Headset in Mid 2022 and Augmented Reality Glasses by 2025

Sunday March 7, 2021 8:27 am PST by
Apple plans to release its long-rumored mixed reality headset "in mid-2022," followed by augmented reality glasses by 2025, well-regarded analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in a research note with TF International Securities, obtained by MacRumors. "We predict that Apple's MR/AR product roadmap includes three phases: helmet type by 2022, glasses type by 2025, and contact lens type by...
smart contact lens

Kuo: Apple May Release Augmented Reality Contact Lenses in 2030s

Sunday March 7, 2021 9:34 am PST by
In a research note shared with MacRumors, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo today predicted that Apple will release augmented reality "contact lenses" in the 2030s. Kuo said the lenses will bring electronics from the era of "visible computing" to "invisible computing." Mojo Vision smart contact lens Kuo said the lenses are "unlikely to have independent computing power and storage," suggesting that they...