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Staff and customers wearing face masks at an Apple Store in Beijing on February 22. (Picture: AFP)

Apple ships just 500,000 iPhones in China in February

The Covid-19 epidemic has pushed down smartphone shipments by more than half

This article originally appeared on ABACUS

Apple only shipped about 500,000 iPhones in China last month, down by more than half from the 1.27 million shipped in February last year, according to a monthly report published by state-run research institute China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT).

The precipitous drop shows how the coronavirus epidemic is affecting electronics brands in China. Smartphone shipments have been affected in general, falling 56% in February to 6.38 million units, according to CAICT. Consumer spending slowed for the month because people in China spent most of it with their family.

Apple temporarily closed all of its retail stores in China for at least two weeks in February. The company has since been gradually reopening them. Now only three Apple Stores in Tianjin and one in Suzhou remain closed. But Covid-19 continues to add stress to the smartphone industry, disrupting supply chains and recessing shipments more than they already were. Smartphone shipments in February last year were the lowest in six years.

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