Apple’s Market Challenges in China: A 24% Decline in iPhone Sales 

In the heated arena of global tech, Apple Inc. faces a notable setback. The first six weeks of 2024 brought a sharp 24% drop in iPhone sales in China, signaling a challenging period for the tech giant amid rising competition and economic turbulence within the country.

Apple Faces 24% Decline in China iPhone Sales

The Crux of the Matter

A report from Counterpoint Research paints a stark picture for Apple and other Western technology firms aiming to capture the vast Chinese market.

While the overall mobile market in China saw a 7% dip, Apple, along with brands like Oppo and Vivo, experienced more significant declines.

Economic and Nationalistic Tide

China’s slowing economy, alongside escalating trade tensions and burgeoning nationalism, has led customers who previously favored Apple to pivot towards homegrown brands, notably Huawei.

Mengmeng Zhang, a senior analyst at Counterpoint, notes, “Apple faced stiff competition from a resurgent Huawei at the high end, while other local brands like Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi pressured it with aggressive pricing.”

The Product Offering

Despite the acclaim for the iPhone 15, its lack of significant upgrades over its predecessor has led consumers to hold onto their older devices longer than anticipated. This sentiment contributes to the downturn in sales, as customers see little incentive to upgrade.

Market Reaction

Following the release of this unsettling news, Apple’s stock took a hit, sliding 2.8% on Tuesday. This downturn is part of a worrying trend for the company’s stock, which has declined approximately 11.6% this year, largely affected by the weakening sales figures emerging from China.

Understanding the Chinese Market

China is not just any market for Apple; it’s its second-largest, surpassed only by the United States. Despite the company’s efforts to mitigate the sales slump through discounts and promotions, the challenge posed by Chinese competitors, especially Huawei, is formidable.

Huawei’s Ascendancy

Huawei’s Mate 60, with its sophisticated processor, took the market by storm, defying US efforts to curtail China’s access to advanced chip-making technology.

Huawei's Ascendancy

The device’s success has not only spotlighted Huawei’s resilience but also catalyzed a shift among Chinese consumers towards national brands, fueled further by sentiment against US sanctions.

Jeff Fieldhack, a research director with Counterpoint, suggested, “Although Apple had a robust January last year thanks to part shortages, this year’s figures mark a return to pre-shortage levels. Despite the immediate challenges, this isn’t a major setback for Apple in the long haul.”

Competition and Strategy

As of January, Huawei commanded a 17% share of China’s mobile market, inching ahead of Apple’s 16%. This tight competition underscores the strategic importance of market-specific initiatives to bolster Apple’s standing in China.


The road ahead for Apple in China is fraught with challenges, from economic slowdowns to fierce competition. Yet, with strategic adaptability and continued innovation, Apple aims to navigate these turbulent waters, reaffirming its commitment to one of its most critical markets globally.

In the face of adversity, Apple’s resilience is put to the test as it endeavors to retain its foothold in the Chinese market. The outcome of this struggle will not only shape Apple’s future prospects but also signal shifts in the global tech landscape.

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