Apple iPhone 11 launch fails to draw crowds in China.

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Customers line in China to buy iPhone 11
Customers line up in China to buy latest iPhone. credits: Nikkei Asian Review

Apple iPhone 11 launch attracted usual crowds all over the world. You can read our review of the latest Smartphone here. People waited for hours outside stores to get an early hold of the device. It is getting rave reviews online and performing much better in sales than expected. But, it is a different story in China. Media reports citing Apple stores all over the mainland china suggest that the usual hype has failed to materialize. The queues at Beijing, Shenzhen and Shanghai Apple stores barely comprised of a few dozen enthusiasts. Is Apple losing its share of the world’s biggest market to competitors? We will have to wait for a couple of months to find a definite answer. In the meanwhile, market analysts are keeping a close watch at the new developments as the trade war between China and the US makes its impact on the Smartphone market.

An Interesting week for Smartphone Market in China

This week, however, has been very interesting for the Smartphone market in China. Huawei launched its first Smartphone Mate 30 without Google. On the surface, the two releases are separate. The timing of the two releases suggests otherwise. Apple needs to maintain a steady growth to avoid falling out of the competition. Huawei, on the other hand, wants to increase Mate 30 sales to compensate for the expected plunge in the European and North American sales due to lack of Google’s support.

The trade war has so far been beneficial for the Chinese tech giant. Its share of the Chinese Smartphone market has almost doubled. Other domestic competitors like Oppo, Xiaomi, and Vivo are close behind, but Huawei intends to further strengthen its share of the pie with the introduction of 5G compatible devices. Meanwhile, Apple’s share of the market has shrunk to less than 10 percent. Its latest model doesn’t even have 5G compatibility, which can further dent the sales.

A glimmer of hope for Apple

There might still be some hope for Apple as JD.com, a Chinese e-commerce website, claimed a 480% increase in sales of iPhone 11 when compared with its sales of iPhone 10 last year. Reuters also suggested a similar trend of the Chinese market reporting that most of the deals are being made online.

So far, 5G compatibility is the only advantage of Huawei Mate 10. Apple will have to struggle in the Chinese market for the next 12 month as other competitors like Vivo have already started venturing into the 5G networks. China is expected to roll out the 5G by the mid of next year.

Despite these facts, Apple iPhone 11 has been getting some serious social media attention in China. As per Abacusnews, Apple dominated discussions on social media – with 8 of the top 20 hot searches on Weibo and four out of five top trending questions on Zhihu. However, in a poll posted on Weibo, only 12.5 percent of the respondents answered that they would buy the new iPhone. Now there might be multiple causes for this result, including but not limited to a response to “unfair” Huawei blacklisting by the US, domestic rallying and lack of 5G compatibility.

It will be interesting to see whether Apple can shore up and maintain its sales once the initial response dies down. There are two main questions market analysts will keep in mind. First, can Apple retain its hold in the Chinese market? Second, how will Huawei’s strategy to counter falling sales in the European and North American market pan out? Ren Zhengfei, Huawei’s CEO called Apple as his “role model” and lauded “industry’s primary innovators”. Will he be able to dent Apple for his own company’s strategy to work? We will be keeping a close eye on the latest market trends in China and all over the world. Watch this space for in-depth analyses and reviews.

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