A customer flaunts his iPhone X bought from an Apple outlet in Beijing, Nov 3, 2017. The US firm posted strong revenue growth in China during the third quarter of this year. [Photo provided to China Daily]
Strong revenue growth in the third quarter has ended Apple Inc’s declining streak of six consecutive quarters in China, the world’s largest smartphone market.
Revenue from the China market was $9.8 billion, up 12 percent year-on-year and up 22 percent sequentially.
The quarterly rebound shows the Cupertino, California-based company is responding well in China to mounting competition from Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and other local smartphone makers, market mavens said.
Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, said on a conference call: “We increased market share for iPhone, Mac and iPad during the quarter. We hit all-time revenue records for services for China.”
The glad tidings coincided with Friday’s start of sales in China of the tech giant’s most-advanced iPhone X (pronounced iPhone Ten).
The gadget’s expensive price tag－up to 9,688 yuan ($1,462)－does not appear to have intimidated Apple fans, market insiders said.
No huge crowds gathered outside Apple stores in cities like Shanghai, but that was because most buyers placed pre-sale orders online, which is considered a surefire way to get the gizmo on the launch day.
But not every such consumer was successful.
Guo Ruijing, a research and development executive at a multinational company in Shanghai, said she preordered a black, 256-GB iPhone X but was informed she would receive it in two to three weeks.
“I’ve been using the iPhone since its fourth generation,” she said. “It’s user-friendly, and the operating system is more secure than the open-sourced Android.”
Given the iPhone X’s relatively hefty price tag, Guo said, consumers may be better off going in for an in-store touch-and-feel experience, to figure if the iPhone 8, which is “way more cost-effective”, might be preferable.
Jia Mo, an analyst at market research company Canalys, said despite the current reported overwhelming consumer enthusiasm for the iPhone X in China, its pricing structure and supply are inhibiting.
“The iPhone X will enjoy a healthy niche market status, but its popularity is unlikely to help Apple lure a broader consumer group,” Jia said.
Not everyone agreed. James Yan, research director at Counterpoint Technology Market Research, said loyal Chinese consumers will still likely rush to buy the iPhone X as most of them appear to feel an urgent need to upgrade their current iPhones.
“We expect Apple will sell about 6 to 7 million units of the iPhone X in the fourth quarter of this year in China. The sales performance is expected to remain robust until June 2018,” Yan said.