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Apple's iPhone is the bestselling smartphone in China despite stiff competition from local competitor Huawei

Customers trying out Apple's iPhone 15 at an Apple store in Shanghai, China.
Customers trying out Apple's iPhone 15 at an Apple store in Shanghai.CFOTO/Future Publishing via Getty Images
  • Apple's iPhone was the bestselling smartphone in China for the first time last year.

  • Apple had a record market share of 17.3% in 2023, International Data Corporation figures showed.

  • The company has faced difficulties in China after a renewed local interest in rival Huawei.

The iPhone became the bestselling smartphone in China for the first time last year.

Apple captured the top spot with a record-high market share of 17.3% in 2023, figures from the International Data Corporation showed.

Local competitor Huawei trailed behind Apple's 20% market share in Q4 with 13.9% of the market share in the year's final quarter, per the data.

Apple has faced difficulties in China recently. Last year, Apple CEO Tim Cook made two trips to China in an attempt to defend the company's position in the important international market.

Sales of its newest model, the iPhone 15, have been disappointing compared with previous iterations after a renewed local interest in domestic rival Huawei put pressure on the tech giant.

Huawei previously outpaced Apple's iPhone 15 with its Mate 60 Pro smartphone, released just weeks before Apple's new model, Jefferies analysts said.

"Apple's climb to the top spot in 2023, especially in light of renewed competition from Huawei and the soft spending sentiment, marks a tremendous success for Apple," Arthur Guo, senior research analyst for IDC China, said.

"Apple achieved this thanks to timely price promotions in its third-party channels, which stimulated demand," he said.

The entire Chinese market saw smartphone sales slump to their lowest in a decade in China, stemming from a soft economic recovery and weak consumer sentiment.

Preliminary data from the IDC Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker showed that China smartphone shipments totaled 271.3 million units in 2023, a decline of 5.0% from 2022.

Representatives Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider, made outside normal working hours.

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