In the first six weeks of 2024, Apple experienced a significant downturn in iPhone sales in China, facing a 24 per cent year-on-year decrease, according to a report by research firm Counterpoint.

The decline was attributed to heightened competition from local rivals, notably Huawei, which witnessed a remarkable 64 per cent increase in unit sales during the same period.

Apple, once holding the second position in the Chinese smartphone market in 2023 with a 19 per cent market share, now finds itself in fourth place with a reduced share of 15.7 per cent.

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On the other hand, Huawei climbed to second place, expanding its market share from 9.4 per cent to 16.5 per cent year-over-year.

Counterpoint’s senior analyst, Mengmeng Zhang, explained the dynamics, stating that Apple faced formidable competition from a resurgent Huawei at the high end while also encountering pricing pressures from domestic brands like OPPO, Vivo, and Xiaomi in the middle segment.

To counteract the decline, Apple initiated measures such as subsidising certain iPhone models by up to 1,300 yuan ($180.68) through flagship stores on Tmall, Alibaba’s major marketplace platform.

Earlier, the company had offered discounts of up to 500 yuan on its official sites.

Huawei’s resurgence in premium smartphone sales was attributed to the successful release of its Mate 60 series in August.

Overcoming years of challenges posed by US restrictions on key component exports, Huawei managed to reclaim its position in the market.

Additionally, Honour, the smartphone brand that separated from Huawei in 2020, witnessed a 2 per cent increase in unit sales, making it the only other top-five brand to experience growth in the first six weeks of the year.

Contrastingly, Chinese brands Vivo, Xiaomi, and Oppo faced declines of 15 per cent, 7 per cent, and 29 per cent, respectively, highlighting the fiercely competitive landscape in the Chinese smartphone market.

Overall, the report indicates a 7 per cent shrinkage in the country’s smartphone market during this period.