On Friday September 22, an enormous number of people trooped to Apple store in midtown Beijing China to get an iPhone 15 for themselves when deliveries started.
iPhone 15 sales via JD’s Dada one-hour delivery App flooded by 253% versus that of the iPhone 14 last year.
Nonetheless, research predicts in China that
there is a probability of a 4% year-on-year decrease in Apple shipments in the final quarter.
Despite market stresses that nationalistic enthusiasm would dampen the U.S. organization’s deals in China, people in Beijing actually got their most recent iPhones.
In the first 10 minutes after deliveries started at 8 a.m., the organization said 25,000 phones were headed to customers. According to JD’s Dada, for the current year it is working with 4,600 approved Apple retailers in China — up from 500 out of 2020.
Apple began delivering the iPhone 15 on Friday after pre-orders started on September 15. This year’s delivery comes as the cell phone giant faces economic and political headwinds in its third-biggest market.
About 14 days prior to Apple’s launch event this month, Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei quietly released its Mate 60 Pro in China with a reportedly 5G-capable chip from SMIC. That’s despite U.S. sanctions since 2019 which have almost wiped out Huawei’s smartphone business.
One customer said he’d wanted to purchase Huawei’s new phone, but it sold out when he attempted to get it on the web.
“Since I couldn’t get the Mate 60 I decided to get the new iPhone instead, he said in Mandarin. I don’t think there’s too much of a difference.”
“Huawei’s phone might slow down in about two to three years, while Apple’s system might last a bit longer — maybe four to five years, according to one of the customers who lined up to buy one. But I’m going to change to a new phone in two to three years anyway, so it’s about the same to me.”
“I don’t feel it’s patriotic to get one brand or another. Don’t Huawei and Apple both pay taxes to China? Apple probably pays more,” he said. He said he was planning to upgrade from his Huawei device to buy the iPhone 15 Pro Max, which has a list price of 9,999 yuan ($1,370).
In early September, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources familiar with the matter, that central government employees were ordered not to bring iPhones to the office or use them for work.
It was not clear how new or wide-reaching any such order was. Bloomberg, citing sources familiar with the situation, also reported a ban on iPhones at work could spread to other state-affiliated agencies.
China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the country hadn’t issued bans on the purchase or use of Apple iPhones. Meanwhile, Shares of Apple, the largest U.S. stock by market capitalization, are down by about 7% so far this month.
Recently, checks revealed that internet shopping destinations JD.com and Alibaba’s Tmall showed the more expensive iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max were essentially sold out, with delivery wait times of about a month or more.
“Based on the current pre-ordering results, we do see that Apple will still be resilient in its sales, though it faces challenges like Huawei’s new products and the absence of the usual buzz on China’s social media,” said Will Wong, senior researcher at IDC, a market research firm.
“We are expecting a 5%-6% YoY growth for Apple’s overall shipments” in China in the second half of this year, he said. However, he noted pre-order results don’t necessarily represent the final sales number and that last year, China was still dealing with Covid-19.
Consumers living outside big cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Hangzhou also wanted to buy the new iPhone. Orders from less developed cities surged by six times versus last year, according to Dada.
China accounts for nearly 20% of Apple’s revenue. The company’s Greater China net sales rose by nearly 8% year-on-year to $15.76 billion in the second quarter, versus a 5.6% decline in the Americas market to $35.38 billion.
China’s retail sales rose by 4.6% in August from a year ago, following 2.5% growth in July. On top of easing back growth in China, the market is exceptionally serious.
In any case, Shanghai-based CINNO research had a more critical viewpoint as of Wednesday: A 22% drop in generally speaking iPhone 15 unit sales versus that of the iPhone 14 in China.
That is still around 10 million iPhone 15s, for a normal complete of 45.5 million iPhones sold in China this year, a 2% decline from a year prior, CINNO Exploration said.
CINNO pinned this on the “economic slump” and impact of Huawei’s new Mate 60 Pro.