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Apple Outshone by Huawei, Xiaomi on China’s Singles Day

Chinese smartphone buyers opted for handsets like Huawei’s Mate 60 over Apple’s latest iPhone 15 during the two-week shopping festival

An Apple iPhone 12 is pictured in a mobile phone store in Nantes, France, on September 13, 2023. Photo: Reuters
An Apple iPhone 12 is pictured in a mobile phone store in Nantes, France. Photo: Reuters


Apple was overshadowed by its Chinese rivals during the country’s annual Singles Day shopping extravaganza, suffering a decline in its smartphone sales while Huawei and Xiaomi recorded healthy uplifts.

The number of Apple smartphones sold declined 4% year-on-year during the two-week sales festival from October 30 to November 12, data from Counterpoint Research showed.

In comparison, the number of units sold by Huawei and Xiaomi grew 66% and 28% respectively year-on-year over the same period.


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The increases for Huawei and Xiaomi helped fuel a 5% year-over-year rise in the overall number of Chinese smartphones sold during the promotion period, it said.

The price for Apple’s latest iPhone 15 model starts at 5,999 yuan ($832), while Huawei’s Mate 60 smartphones start from 5,499 yuan ($763). Xiaomi’s latest Mi 14 smartphone is priced from 3,999 yuan ($555).

China’s e-commerce platforms such as Alibaba and JD.com did not release sales figures for the Singles Day festival, having dropped the practice last year, although JD.com said the value of Apple products bought on its platform during the period surpassed 10 billion yuan ($1.39 billion).

A Xiaomi spokesperson said the company achieved cumulative gross merchandise value of over 22.4 billion yuan during the shopping extravaganza.

Analysts have said the Chinese smartphone market is poised to rebound, with research firm IDC saying it expects sales to grow year-on-year in the fourth quarter after ten consecutive quarters of falling shipments.

Competition between smartphone models ratcheted up before the annual shopping gala, with major Chinese e-commerce platforms offering significant discounts on Apple’s iPhones during the sales period.


Huawei Mate 60 Series Success

Apple released its iPhone 15 series in late September, roughly a month after Huawei launched the Mate 60 smartphone line powered by Huawei’s independently developed advanced chip.

The Mate 60 series has received significant patriotic support in China with fans saying it shows how Huawei has managed to overcome years of export controls by the United States that initially crippled its smartphone business.

Xiaomi launched its flagship Mi 14 smartphone series in late October, with CEO Lei Jun revealing that sales for the new line had surpassed 1 million units after its release.

In addition to facing competition from domestic rivals, Counterpoint analysts attributed Apple’s sluggish performance to supply chain issues that have constrained the availability of its new iPhone 15 models.

“Apple is improving compared to last month but there still seems to be hiccups in terms of supply,” said Ivan Lam, senior analyst for manufacturing at Counterpoint, adding that he expects the situation to normalise soon.


  • Reuters with additional editing by Sean O’Meara


Read more:

Huawei’s China Smartphone Sales Soar, Closes Gap on Apple

Huawei Sells 1.6m Mate 60 Phones in Six Weeks as Apple Falters

Apple Implements Chinese App Store Rules Amid Tighter Scrutiny

Big Queue at Apple’s Shanghai Store for New iPhone 15

For China Users, an Apple vs Huawei Battle is Picking up Pace




Sean O'Meara

Sean O'Meara is an Editor at Asia Financial. He has been a newspaper man for more than 30 years, working at local, regional and national titles in the UK as a writer, sub-editor, page designer and print editor. A football, cricket and rugby fan, he has a particular interest in sports finance.


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