iPhone Becomes Top Smartphone in China for First Time in Six Years

Apple became the top smartphone brand in China for the first time in six years in the fourth quarter of 2021, Counterpoint Research reports.

iPhone 13 Feature Blue Green
While smartphone sales in China declined nine percent year on year for the third consecutive quarter in the fourth quarter of 2021, and smartphone sales declined two percent in 2021 for the fourth consecutive year, Apple finally surpassed Vivo to become the country's top smartphone brand. In total, Apple captured 23 percent of the Chinese smartphone market in the fourth quarter of 2021, its highest ever market share in the country.

Counterpoint Smartphone Shipment Market Share and Growth Q4 2021
The Chinese homegrown brands Vivo, Oppo, Honor, and Xiaomi took second, third, fourth, and fifth place, respectively. Counterpoint Research analyst Mengmeng Zhang commented:

Apple's stellar performance was driven by a mix of its pricing strategy and gain from Huawei's premium base. Apple rose to first place in China right after the iPhone 13 was released (week 39) in September. Afterwards, it remained in the leading position for most of the fourth quarter. The new iPhone 13 has led the success due to a relatively lower starting price at its release in China, as well as the new camera and 5G features. Furthermore, Huawei, Apple's main competitor in the premium market, faced declining sales due to the ongoing U.S. sanctions.

The fourth quarter of 2021 was the first time Apple has been the top smartphone brand in China since the fourth quarter of 2015, when the iPhone 6's upgrade supercycle was at its height. Counterpoint says that Apple's success at the premium end of the market will encourage Chinese brands to strengthen their offerings in this segment.

Top Rated Comments

TheYayAreaLiving ? Avatar
11 months ago
Wow! This is big news. A stellar performance by Apple. Just dominating. Tomorrow is going to be a big day for Apple.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
skipper63 Avatar
11 months ago
Pretty amazing! That is why tomorrows quarterly results will be the best ever.

Where is Samsung in China?
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
orbital~debris Avatar
11 months ago

MR spin masters are not going to disappoint on this piece of news.
What does your comment mean?
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
djcerla Avatar
11 months ago
MR spin masters are not going to disappoint on this piece of news.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
sw1tcher Avatar
11 months ago

But this is the China smartphone market. I can't imagine Huawei phones have much U.S.-driven content. Or do they? I admit I'm not fully versed on the global smartphone market.
Software blacklist means no Google Android updates, no access to Google Play store. But it's not just software. It's hardware too. If Huawei can't use the newest and fastest chips (like 5G), then what's the point in buying a Huawei smartphone? 5G is much more prevalent in China, and has been for several years now, unlike how it's starting to roll out in the U.S. now.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
himanshumodi Avatar
11 months ago
Holy smokes, that's incredible. I thought Apple was quite low down on the pecking order in terms of market lead, and that it was sheer volumes that was the driver for Apple in the country.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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