Apple is losing its majority in the Chinese smartphone market
Recent figures indicate that Apple once had an 81.2% share of the smartphone market in China. However, a newer report shows that this had shrunk to 54.6% in 2018. There may be a number of factors in this trend, including Qualcomm's success in blocking the company from selling several generations of its iPhones in the country. However, a new Reuters article puts the blame on smartphone OEMs that are 'home-grown' in this context.
This is connected to findings that these companies - which include Huawei, Xiaomi, OPPO and Vivo - tend to keep the cost of their flagships to the equivalent of about US$800 or less in their home nation. Apple, on the other hand, could be seen as ignoring economic realities for many consumers by hiking its own price-point to $1000+ with the last few generations of iPhones.
However, the article - which cites a recent report from the market analysis firm Counterpoint in making its conclusions - also notes that the 'native' OEMs also offer other attributes that are favorable to Chinese consumers. These include novel features such as in-display fingerprint readers; notch-dodging selfie-cam designs, and triple rear cameras, which Apple has yet to adopt.
These Chinese-market woes were one of the reasons that Tim Cook was obliged to revise Apple's investor guidance in late 2018. In addition, it may have yet another impending obstacle towards reviving its fortunes in this region: Samsung. This company is aiming for improved fortunes compared to last year with the release of the Galaxy S10 series in the country - and it does appear to be succeeding in this goal.
The new Reuters report did not mention other mobile device categories, or those typically linked to smartphone use, that Apple also deals in. However, it is possible that it may have analogous problems in these markets in the future. Then again, its new AirPods may sell well - but they are up against stiff, better-priced competition. The freshly-launched AirDots, which Xiaomi sells for the equivalent of just $15, is a good example. Therefore, Apple may indeed face stiff competition in this major Asian market.