Shopping analytics giant Kantar Worldpanel reports that Apple’s smartphone has experienced its first fall in market share in urban China since 2014.

“For the first time since August 2014, iOS share did not grow in urban China in the 3 months ending February,” said Tamsin Timpson, strategic insight director at Kantar Worldpanel ComTech Asia. “iOS declined 3.2 percentage points between February 2015 and February 2016.”

Kantar said that the increasing popularity of local smartphone brands was the main reason for the fall …

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Huawei was able to recapture the top spot on the Smartphone brand leader board, capturing 24.4% of Smartphones sold in urban China, just ahead of Apple’s 22.2% […]

Up-and-coming local brands Meizu and Oppo both showed strong year-on-year growth, each capturing about 6% of smartphone sales.

Kantar does, though, believe that the iPhone SE has the potential to reverse the drop, offering an appealing option for those Android owners who would prefer an iPhone but have been constrained by the high purchase cost.

There are also significant numbers of potential buyers, particularly in China, who may not be able to afford the high price of a flagship iPhone but may find that the iPhone SE lets them take their first step into the Apple ecosystem.

There have been mixed early reports on how the SE is faring, some sources reporting that the new 4-inch phone is popular in China, while others are less convinced. In the U.S. at least, it does seem to be attracting Android users.

Photo: Chance Chan/China-Tech/Reuters

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