iPhone thriving in China despite losing market share in US and Europe

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 09 April, 2015, 8:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 09 April, 2015, 8:00am

China's importance to Apple has become ever more pronounced as the iPhone remained strong there while losing market share in developed countries, according to a new survey.

By the end of February, the iPhone had a 27.6 per cent share of the Chinese smartphone market, according to Kantar Worldpanel ComTech’s latest report.

“There has been a strong appetite for Apple’s products in urban China seen since the launch of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus and this has continued into Chinese New Year,“ said Carolina Milanesi, chief of research at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.

Meanwhile, Apple’s share of the smartphone market declined in major developed countries in January and February. In the US it dropped from 47.7 to 38.8 per cent, Japan 60.2 to 49.8 per cent, and in Germany from 20.9 to 17.4 per cent.

The top three best selling smartphones in China are the iPhone 6, the Xiaomi RedMI Note, and the iPhone 6 Plus, the report said.

Users on Sina Weibo, China’s largest social network, said that iPhone 6's 4.7-inch display is more user-friendly than previous models. The phone is lighter, faster and with a better camera, many said.

Some think that the iPhone 6 Plus’s 5.5-inch display is too large. “Can’t fit in your pocket,” one said.

The Chinese market has become vital for Apple. The company's fourth quarter report last year showed that China was its third largest market and still growing.

Among Apple’s fourth quarter earnings of US$74.6 billion, US$16.1 billion was from China.

Apple chief executive Tim Cook has said the company plans to open 25 retail stores in China by 2016, in addition to its existing 18 stores.

While China has lagged behind other markets for previous product launches, including the iPhone 6, it will be among the first wave of countries to get the new Apple Watch on April 24.