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Apple iPhone loses No. 1 spot in China for the 1st time in 5 yrs

The Cupertino, CA-based company has been struggling in China for the last few quarters. In the three months to September 24, 2016, Greater China revenue fell 30 percent year-on-year. Apple has been on a charm offensive, visiting China last year, and announced a USD 45 million research and development center in Beijing. Its market share has fallen from 14.3 percent in 2015, to 10.4 percent last year in China, Counterpoint said.

Apple has been squeezed on the higher end of the market by Huawei which has been making a huge push with its smartphones, not just in China, but abroad too. In the mid-tier price range, Oppo and Vivo have released high-quality but lower priced devices and are aggressively taking market share.

Oppo’s shipments grew 109 percent year-on-year in China, while Vivo saw a 78 percent rise. Huawei was up 21 percent, but Apple was down 21 percent, according to Counterpoint. Even Xiaomi, once the darling of the Chinese smartphone world, saw a 22 percent year-on-year decline in shipments in 2016.

“While the smartphone user base is at an all-time-high and maturing, still bulk of the popular models are still skewed towards mid-end which outs a cap on growth for players such as Apple,” Counterpoint noted, highlighting one of the biggest challenges for the US company in China.

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