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The new iPhone 13 line is displayed inside the Apple Store at IFC Mall in Central on September 24, 2021. Apple’s flagship device continued to drive the company’s sales in Greater China, despite supply chain constraints. Photo: May Tse

Apple extends hot streak in China with US$14.6 billion revenue in quarter marred by supply chain disruptions

  • Apple revenue in Greater China, which includes Hong Kong and Taiwan, was up 83 per cent in the quarter ended September 25
  • That sales growth surpassed Apple’s 20 per cent increase in the Americas and 23 per cent gain in Europe during the same period
US technology giant Apple reported net revenue of US$14.6 billion in Greater China during the quarter ended September 25, up 83 per cent from a year ago, to extend its hot streak in the region, despite costly supply chain disruptions.

That sales growth in Greater China, which includes Hong Kong and Taiwan, surpassed the 20 per cent increase in Apple’s Americas operation and 23 per cent gain in Europe during the same period.

Analysts said the Cupertino, California-based company’s latest financial performance in Greater China continued a strong trend so far this year. The region was already Apple’s biggest growth market in the quarter to June, when the company posted a 58.2 per cent rise in revenue to US$14.8 billion.

“Apple’s performance in China is all the more remarkable because the global smartphone market has been relatively weak – we‘re talking growth of only about 6 per cent,” said Ivan Lam, a senior analyst at Counterpoint Research. He indicated that Apple has been dominating the high-end handset segment in China, which is the world’s largest smartphone market, as Huawei Technologies Co continues to struggle with US sanctions.


iPhone 13 release sparks buying frenzy in China

iPhone 13 release sparks buying frenzy in China
Apple’s strong financial quarter became a trending topic on Chinese microblogging platform Weibo. Posts and comments related to the topic’s hashtag garnered nearly 65 million views as of Friday afternoon.
That response showed how consumers in the world’s second-largest economy have become invested in Apple, whose products have become status symbols in the country. These products are also supplied by contract manufacturers and component makers with long-standing operations in mainland China. The world’s largest iPhone factory, for example, is located in Zhengzhou, capital of central Henan province.
In September, mainland Chinese consumers pre-ordered millions of the new iPhone 13 line across the country’s multiple e-commerce platforms, resulting in online traffic jams and viral social media discussions after Apple launched the latest version of its flagship product.
Apple’s iPhone accounted for a 74 per cent share of smartphones priced above US$800 sold in China in September, according to Counterpoint data. For smartphones that cost between US$600 and US$700, the iPhone had a market share of 56 per cent in the same month.

Popularity of iPhone 13 has Apple struggling to keep up amid supply crunch

While iPhone sales soared yet again to lift the company’s total revenue to US$83.4 billion in the past quarter, Apple chief executive Tim Cook estimated that supply chain shortages cost the firm about US$6 billion in sales during the period. Apple’s chief financial officer, Luca Maestri, warned sales will be hurt even more during the current quarter that covers the pivotal holiday shopping season.
The global chip shortage, for example, has caused overall smartphone shipments to decline 6 per cent in the quarter to September, according to research firm Canalys.

Still, Counterpoint’s Lam expected iPhone shipments in China to record a 40 per cent quarter-on-quarter increase in the three months ended December.

Echoing that positive forecast, Nicole Peng, vice-president of mobility at Canalys, said iPhone 13 sales will be a bigger contributor to Apple’s revenue in the December quarter. She said Apple has been more active in wooing Chinese customers in the past two quarters with a wide range of products, not just iPhones.

“Apple is now bringing a lot of its new hardware products directly to China,” Peng said. “If you look at Home Pod Mini and AirPods, these products got their China launch very quickly. Mac sales are also selling better in China. So the company’s sources of revenue [in this market] are becoming more diverse.”

This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: Apple extends China gains with US$14.6b quarterly sales despite supply crunch