Skip to main content

Apple Inc AAPL-Q achieved its highest-ever market share in China in the fourth quarter, when it was the top-selling vendor there for the first time in six years, research firm Counterpoint Research reported on Wednesday.

The milestone coincided with the release of the iPhone 13, and amid otherwise stagnant demand for handsets as chief rival Huawei Technologies Co Ltd’s market share declined.

Apple’s smartphone market share reached 23 per cent, a record for the brand. Its unit sales volume grew 32 per cent year-on-year in the quarter, while total smartphone sales in China fell 9 per cent, according to Counterpoint.

Counterpoint analyst Mengmeng Zhang cited a lower starting price in China and the impact of U.S. sanctions against Huawei, Apple’s main competitor in the high-end segment, as factors.

Apple last ranked as China’s top-selling smartphone brand in late 2015, just after the company launched its iPhone 6, which attracted Chinese consumers with their large screens.

In 2021 as a whole, Apple ranked as China’s third best-selling smartphone brand with 16 per cent of the market.

Vivo and Oppo, two Android handset brands under the privately-owned BBK Electronics, ranked first and second with 22 per cent and 21 per cent respectively.

Year on year, Apple’s unit sales rose 47 per cent while Huawei’s tumbled 68 per cent. Overall smartphone sales in China fell 2 per cent, according to Counterpoint.

Lengthening upgrade cycles have presented an ongoing dilemma for Chinese smartphone brands looking to maintain growth at home, as consumers delay purchasing new devices.

A global chip and component shortage has meanwhile rattled the entire electronics industry, affecting pricing and margins for all hardware makers.

Be smart with your money. Get the latest investing insights delivered right to your inbox three times a week, with the Globe Investor newsletter. Sign up today.