Get more with myNEWS
A personalised news feed of stories that matter to you
Learn more
Apple’s iPhone remains popular in China. Photo: AP

Apple’s smartphone share hit a record high in China before recent worker protests disrupted shipments at Foxconn Zhengzhou

  • The Cupertino-based company grabbed a 25 per cent share of China’s smartphone market in October, according to Counterpoint
  • Apple’s strong iPhone sales came before this month’s chaos at Foxconn’s Zhengzhou production plant

Apple’s market share in China reached a record high in October just before draconian Covid-19 measures caused serious disruption at the world’s largest iPhone factory in Zhengzhou, according to market research firm Counterpoint Research.

The Cupertino, California-based company grabbed a 25 per cent share of China’s smartphone market in October thanks to the popularity of its newly-released iPhone 14 series, Counterpoint stated in its latest report. For every four handsets sold in the country in October, one was an iPhone, with the iPhone 14 Pro Max and 14 Pro being the top two bestselling phones.

Apple’s advance has taken ground from other players in a shrinking market. Sales of smartphones fell 15 per cent year-on-year in October, with Chinese consumers holding on to their handsets for longer before upgrading amid a challenging economy.

iPhone assembler Foxconn offers new incentives to get workers back

“China’s market has been sluggish due to multiple factors, including macroeconomic pressures and Covid-19 lockdowns hitting consumer sentiment,” wrote Ethan Qi, an analyst at Counterpoint Research, in a research note.

Apple’s strong iPhone sales came before November’s chaos at Foxconn Technology Group’s Zhengzhou production plant in central Henan province, where workers protested over working conditions and bonuses.

Analysts have said Apple may ship 20 per cent fewer smartphones this holiday quarter than previously expected, as the world’s largest iPhone factory in Zhengzhou struggles to keep up with production targets.

Despite the company’s efforts to keep assembly lines running at normal operational levels while also complying with China’s strict pandemic controls, fears over infections and disagreements about work allowances led to an exodus of workers followed by violent clashes last week.

The plant’s production “was significantly affected by the protests”, with an average of just 20 per cent of the factory’s capacity being used in November, Kuo Ming-chi, an analyst covering Apple at TF International Securities, wrote in his blog on Tuesday. The utilisation rate is expected to rise to only 30 to 40 per cent in December, he said.

Apple said last month that due to restricted production at the Foxconn facility, iPhone shipments would come in slower during the upcoming holiday season.