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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.jpg

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.png

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.

Article Link: iPhone Becomes Top Smartphone in China for First Time in Six Years
 
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velocityg4

macrumors 604
Dec 19, 2004
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It's even more amazing. When you consider the average sales price of the iPhone vs the average price of those other phones.

I'd like to see what percentage of the market Apple owns in the $700+ segment.
 

apparatchik

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Mar 6, 2008
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So, Samsung has been essentially wiped out of the largest smartphone market in the world, I wonder what this means for them elsewhere in the long term.

Also, I imagine if you measure by profits in the industry, or if you were to measure just the market brackets Apple actually takes part in, they have never lost the No. 1 spot.
 
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Mr. Dee

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Dec 4, 2003
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That’s why Apple is discontinuing the Mini with iPhone 14 and switching the line up to 6.1 or larger. Nobody in China really wants small phones. It’s a very large market with a middle class that continues to grow and has the funds to buy larger, more expensive phones.
 

webkit

macrumors 6502a
Jan 14, 2021
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While it certainly shows growth for Apple in Q4 2021 versus Q4 2020, a reason for Apple's lead is in part because Apple only has one smartphone brand. Vivo, Oppo, and Realme are all brands of BBK Electronics.

If you were to list market share for Q4 by company it would be:
BBK - 39%
Apple - 23%
Honor - 15%
Xiaomi - 13%
Huawei - 7% (what the heck happened to Huawei?)

Also, how did Apple's "relatively low starting price" compare to other times? Did Apple cut prices (and therefore potential profits) in Q4 to build market share?
 

Skyscraperfan

macrumors newbie
Oct 13, 2021
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They look at brands? Most Chinese smartphone companies sell their smartphones under a few different brands. Honor for example is a brand of Huawei. And then there is BBK Electronics that uses the brands Oppo, Vivo, OnePlus, RealMe and others. Oppo and Vivo combined for example sell more smartphones than Apple worldwide.
 

nicho

macrumors 601
Feb 15, 2008
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Honor for example is a brand of Huawei

Not true. It was sold over a year ago... for reasons related to the implosion of Huawei's market share.

Huawei still makes and sells new models. The problem is, all the new ones are 4G only. They've had to drop 5G support... which is kind of the wrong direction if you want to be a market leader.
 

nvmls

macrumors 68000
Mar 31, 2011
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Having used many of these, except for Samsung, which is not even on the list lol, the rest are copycat brands with subpar support hence little brand loyalty.
 

WWPD

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Aug 21, 2015
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Asian brands seem to have local loyalty, Chinese brands popular in China, Samsung in Korea and in Japan Sony is still a thing but Apple dominates. Apple is the outlier in each market, so that's an advantage.
 

sw1tcher

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Jan 6, 2004
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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.
 

TechRunner

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Oct 28, 2016
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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.
I knew about the Google stuff, but not the 5G thing. Yeah, not having access to 5G would definitely be a killer.
 

imnotthewalrus

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Nov 20, 2015
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That’s why Apple is discontinuing the Mini with iPhone 14 and switching the line up to 6.1 or larger. Nobody in China really wants small phones. It’s a very large market with a middle class that continues to grow and has the funds to buy larger, more expensive phones.
Unless I missed an article (very possible!) I’m not sure the Mini is gone forever; I think it will only get refreshed every 2-3 years, like the recent SE phone and watch.
 
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