Li_DanLi_Dan ・ Jul. 4, 2024
iPhone Shipments in China Rise 40% in May amid Deep Discounts
iPhone shipments in China surged 52% and 12% YoY in April and March, respectively, after the first two months of this year saw a 37% plunge, according to data from China's Academy of Information and Communications Technology.

TMTPost -- Apple Inc.’s is benefiting from deep discounts in China as iPhone sales in the world’s largest smartphone market maintain robust recovery these months.

Credit:Apple CEO Tim Cook Weibo

Credit:Apple CEO Tim Cook Weibo

iPhone shipments in China rose nearly 40% year-over-year (YoY) in May, suggested by data from China’s Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT), a scientific research institution which is subordinate to the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.  Shipments of foreign-branded smartphones increased to 5.028 million units from 3.603 million a year ago,  according to CAICT monthly estimates for May. The shipment volume represented a 44.3% month--over-month (MoM) increase.

The latest CAICT data showed iPhone sales maintained double-digit growth in China. The shipments surged 52% and 12% YoY in April and March, respectively,  after 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 showed.

CAICT data increased signs that iPhone sales in China has been recovering these months as Apple took rare promotions in the world’s largest smartphone market. Apple’s website lowered prices of  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 Tmall and JD.com was reported late February to cut the price of iPhone 15 by as much as RMB1,300 (US$180).

Apple rolled out in May much more substantial promotion. Its official store at Alibaba Group’s Tmall platform launched a limited-time discounting campaign from May 20 to 28. Any iPhone 15 shopper who placed their orders from May 20 to 28 can enjoy discounts up to RMB2,050 (US$318). Specifically, iPhone 15 Pro Max starts RMB7,949, representing a reduction of RMB2,050, or 20.5% from the previous price. The starting price of iPhone 15 Pro is cut to RMB4,500 after the discount of RMB1,900, and those prices of iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus respectively down to RMB5,599 and RMB6,099, each down by RMB1,400.

The promotion seems pay off as Apple reported in May that iPhone generated $45.96 billion in the quarter ended March 31 with a 10.5% year-over-year (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%.

Apple didn’t provide detailed financial or sales figures in China, but Apple Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Luca 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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