Sales of smartphones dropped to below 100 million units in China in the fourth quarter of 2018 as the launch of iPhone XR and the promotional efforts of Single's Day shopping festival failed to ignite buying activities, although the quarter is traditionally a peak season for smartphone sales, according to Digitimes Research's latest quarterly report about China's smartphone market and industry.
IDC said that Chinese tech company Huawei saw smartphone shipments rise 23.3 percent in the fourth quarter, allowing the firm to cut into Apple's market share. Xiaomi Corp. fared even worse in the final months of previous year, when shipments plunged nearly 35 per cent, the consultancy estimates.
The leading company is Huawei, which now commands no less than 29 percent of the phone market in China thanks to an increase of 23.3 percent in the last quarter.
In the final three months of 2018, shipments of Apple's iPhone dropped 19.9 percent year-over-year while Xiaomi saw its shipments slashed by more than a third compared to the same period a year earlier.
"The domestic smartphone market environment in 2019 doesn't look very optimistic", IDC senior analyst Wang Xi said in the report.
The US-based company's revenue from the iPhone slid 15 percent in the October to December period.
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The report is the first to put a firm number on the scale of a recent decline in Apple's fortunes in the world's second largest economy, after Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook pointed to China as a big factor in a rare cut in the company's quarterly sales forecast last month.
Nobody told Huawei about the smartphone slump.
Huawei shored up its lead after unit shipments soared 23.3 per cent, leading all major brands, according to IDC.
Fifth-ranked Xiaomi, a Chinese name that experienced rapid growth just before its 2018 initial public offering, incurred a 34.9 per cent plunge in shipments due to inventory corrections and an internal restructuring, IDC said.
IDC said: "5G phones will still comprise only a very small portion of the overall market. We've a long way to go before they become mainstream", IDC said.
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