Apple's iPhone 13 tops China's smartphone sales for six consecutive weeks

New camera, 5G feature and lower price help the world's most valuable company gain a rare stronghold in the world's second-largest economy

The iPhone 13 is the most popular Apple flagship among Chinese consumers. Reuters

Apple was China's top smartphone brand in terms of sales units and revenue for six consecutive weeks to the end of 2021, with the iPhone 13 model surging in popularity because of its relatively low price, according to a new report.

The iPhone 13's new camera and 5G feature helped push it to the top of the market, with initial sales of the mobile phone in the world's second-biggest economy exceeding that of its predecessors, Hong Kong-based industry analysis company Counterpoint Research said in the report.

This has been enough for Apple to fend off major Chinese brands – including Vivo and Oppo – in their own home market, while also benefiting from the US sanctions imposed on market leader Huawei Technologies.

“Apple’s only true competitor in China until now was Huawei, and it is now facing serious production issues due to the US sanctions,” Tom Kang, research director at Counterpoint Research, said in the report.

“Apple is likely to continue its high performance in China until other competitors catch up in both brand and quality,”

Apple is the world's most valuable company, after briefly surpassing the $3 trillion market capitalisation mark on January 3. This is largely through sales of its flagship products, alongside its services segment that has continued to break records, amid a surge in consumer demand during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In October, Apple reported a fourth-quarter net profit of $20.6 billion – up 62.2 per cent from a year ago. The company earned record revenue of $83.4bn during the September quarter, but sales fell short of Wall Street expectations.

The company's App Store has earned more than $260bn through the sale of digital goods and services since the launch of the platform in 2008, the company said on January 11.

The global smartphone market grew 6 per cent on a sequential basis but declined by 6 per cent year-on-year in the third quarter of 2021, Counterpoint Research said. Global shipments reached 342 million units in 2021, down from 365.6 million in the previous year.

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Apple’s only true competitor in China until now was Huawei, and it is now facing serious production issues due to the US sanctions
Tom Kang, research director at Counterpoint Research

Apple briefly touched the top spot in China in week 39 of 2021 – which was September 20 to 26. However, it reached the number one spot again during week 47 and stayed there until the end of the year.

The iPhone 13 was unveiled on September 14, began pre-ordering on September 17 and became available on September 24.

The last time Apple held the top spot in China was in December 2015, with the iPhone 6s.

Counterpoint Research did not release figures for the first week of 2022 nor did it disclose the total number of sales units or revenue reached during the period.

It also did not specify the current market share for each mobile phone brand. However, in September last year, Apple had 22 per cent market share, followed by Vivo with 20 per cent, Oppo with 18 per cent and Huawei's with just 8 per cent, Counterpoint Research said at the time.

The standard iPhone 13 is the most popular model of the phone in China – accounting for 51 per cent of sales. The iPhone 13 Pro Max accounts for 23 per cent of iPhone13 sales, followed by the iPhone 13 Pro on 21 per cent.

Apple's success follows the strong performance of the iPhone 12 series, which has contributed to an increase in Apple’s overall sales.

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Fitness+ updated

Meanwhile, Apple this week announced new Collections and Time to Run features on its Fitness+ platform, which features a series of workouts and meditations and an audio running experience designed to help users become more consistent with their exercise.

Collections draws from almost 2,000 studio-style workouts and guided meditations to motivate users. Time to Run provides coaching tips and spans major cities including London, Brooklyn and Miami. The third season of Time to Walk was also launched and is now guided by a number of influential people, Apple said.

“At the beginning of a new year, we know many people are looking for new ways to go after their goals. With these new additions, Fitness+ makes it easy to get motivated and stay active anywhere, with the most complete library of high-quality and diverse content,” said Jay Blahnik, Apple’s vice president of fitness technologies.

Updated: January 15th 2022, 3:30 AM