Li_DanLi_Dan ・ May. 9, 2024
iPhone Shipments in China Rise 12% in March following a 37% Plunge in Previous Two Months
Apple CEO Tim Cook last week said it may come as a surprise to some people, but iPhone sales grew in China for the quarter ended March.

TMTPost -- Data from an institute under the Chinese government agency showcased Apple Inc. reversed trend of slump in shipments earlier this year.

Credit:Apple

Credit:Apple

Apple shipped 3.75 million smartphones in China in March, representing a 12% year-over-year (YoY) increase, Bloomberg calculated based on monthly data from China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT), a scientific research institution which is subordinate to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

The YoY growth marked a significant improvement of iPhone sales compared with the previous months, according to CAICT monthly estimates. Apple has recorded decrease in iPhone sales for a second straight month in China. iPhone shipments in China dived nearly 39% and about 33% YoY in January and February, respectively, and the first two months of this year saw a 37% plunge, CAICT data suggested.

Latest CAICT data increased the evidence that Apple’s promotions in the world’s largest smartphone market is being paid off. Apple’s website rarely lowered prices of latest flagship iPhone 15 series in January in China ahead of the Chinese New Year holiday in February. The adjustment of RMB500 pushed the starting price of iPhone 15 below RMB5,000. Resellers of Apple at Alibaba Group’s Tmall and JD.com was reported late February to cut the price of iPhone 15 by as much as RMB1,300 (US$180).

Apple last week posted less-than-expected sales slump in quarterly revenue, suggesting sales in its key market China didn’t accelerate decline amid increasing competition from Chinese rivals.The company reported earnings per share (EPS) of $1.53 on revenue of $90.75 billion during the fiscal second quarter ended March 30, 2024, beating analysts’ estimated EPS of 1.50 on revenue of $90.01 billion. EPS edged up 0.66% year-over-year (YoY) record high, better than analysts’ expected decrease of 1.3%. Overall revenue fell 4% YoY for the fifth time in the past six quarters,  less deeper than Wall Street projected decrease of 4.8%.

iPhone, Apple’s top product line, generated $45.96 billion that quarter with a 10.5% YoY decline, reversing its YoY growth for third consecutive quarter. As a main force that dragged down Apple’s revenue, iPhone sales did show weak demand for iPhone 15 series launched last September, though not as sluggish as analysts’ forecast.

Another surprising highlight of Apple’s results came from China, which has been a source of concern for investors wary of slowdown. Greater China, which includes mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore, brought $16.37 billion in the March quarter, representing an 8% YoY fall. That, however, still topped estimates of $15.87 billion with a YoY decrease of 11%.  

As Apple’s third largest market next to North America and Europe, Great China contributed 18% of total revenue that quarter. Apple didn’t provide detailed financial or sales figures in China, but Apple CFO Maestri said in an interview with Yahoo Finance that the company saw growth in mainland China during the quarter. In his interview with CNBC, Apple CEO Tim Cook said it may come as a surprise to some people, but iPhone sales grew in China that quarter.Cook didn’t provide details of iPhone sales, while he said he remained very optimistic about the Chinese market despite fierce competition at an earnings call. "I feel good about China, I think more about long term than to the next week or so," Cook said. He noted the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro Max are the leading smartphones in urban China.

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