Strategy Analytics is out today with its look at the smartphone industry in China during the fourth quarter of 2018. According to the data, China smartphone shipments fell 11 percent year-over-year, while Apple saw its own shipments fall by roughly 3 million units in Q4.

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The report explains that smartphone shipments in China during Q4 2018 hit 107.9 million units, down from 121.3 million units in Q4 2017. As for 2018 as a whole, shipments were down from 459.6 million units to 408.5 million units in China.

Apple specifically saw shipments fall from 14 million units in Q4 2017 to 10.9 million units during the fourth quarter of 2018. For the whole year, iPhone shipments were down from 36.7 million units in 2017 to 34.2 million units in 2018.

With Q4 in the books, Strategy Analytics says the iPhone has fallen on a year-over-year basis in China for 8 of the past 12 quarters. Strategy Analytics director Linda Sui explained:

“iPhone shipments dropped 22 percent annually and this was the firm’s worst performance since early 2017. Apple iPhone has now fallen on a year-over-year basis in China for 8 of the past 12 quarters. Apple has been under pressure in China for the past three years. Ongoing patent battles with Qualcomm are a distraction, while Apple is being heavily criticized for its expensive retail prices. Apple is in danger of pricing the iPhone out of China.”

Apple’s marketshare in Q4 2018 hit 10.1 percent, slightly overtaking Xiaomi at 9.3 percent. For the entire year, Apple saw a slight uptick in marketshare, increasing from 8 percent in 2017 to 8.4 percent in 2018.

Huawei continues to excel in China, seeing its marketshare rise to 27.8 percent during Q4 2018, up from 20 percent in Q4 2017. Huawei’s shipments in China  were up 23 percent annually. Neil Mawston, executive director at Strategy Analytics said:

“Huawei shipped 30.0 million smartphones and captured a record 28 percent marketshare in China during Q4 2018. Huawei’s growth soared 23 percent annually and it is now the clear market leader. A strong product portfolio, famous brand and extensive retail channels were among the main success factors.”

Apple is set to hold its earnings call for the holiday quarter next week on January 29th.


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