Fri, Jan 10, 2020 - Page 10 News List

iPhone shipments in China up 18.7%

Bloomberg

Apple Inc last month bagged a significant smartphone shipment jump in China as the world’s largest consumer electronics market heads into the Lunar New Year holiday, official data showed.

The iPhone maker’s shipments in China last month grew 18.7 percent year-on-year to about 3.18 million units, according to Bloomberg calculations based on government data of overall shipments and Android device shipments.

The increase marked an acceleration from prior months, which were buoyed by the iPhone 11’s release in September last year.

The numbers come from the China Academy of Information and Communication Technology (CAICT), a government think tank.

Apple made major strides in increasing battery life in its iPhone 11 and 11 Pro devices, while lowering the starting price by US$50.

After years of stagnation in cameras, the company last year overhauled the iPhone’s image quality, catching up to category leaders Google and Huawei Technology Co (華為). This approach drew an overwhelmingly positive reception from critics.

The surge in shipments gives reason for optimism around Apple’s smartphone sales in the buildup to the Lunar New Year, which falls later this month.

China’s overall smartphone shipments last month fell short of 30 million units, a 13.7 percent decline from the same period in 2018, CAICT said.

Apple is fighting an uphill battle against a group of local vendors led by Huawei, which last year gained a dominant position, despite facing sanctions and struggles abroad.

As the year progresses, the company’s lack of 5G-enabled devices and inability to get its full range of online services past Chinese censors would make sustaining the initial shipment improvement an uncertain task.

Apple shares on Wednesday hit a high after the firm said that customers spent a record amount in its App Store during the final days of the Christmas holiday season.

App Store spending reached US$1.4 billion between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, up 16 percent from the same period in 2018, a company blog post said.

The stock rose as much as 1.6 percent, pushing its gains since the end of 2018 to 92 percent.

Rising spending on apps highlights Apple’s ability to generate revenue, despite sluggish iPhone growth, Wedbush Securities analyst Daniel Ives said.

That “speaks to the underlying strength that Cupertino is having monetizing its golden jewel installed base of 925 million iPhones worldwide,” he wrote in a research note.

Gene Munster, a veteran Apple analyst and founder of Loup Ventures, said that the App Store data are more evidence that Apple’s services expansion is not directly linked to iPhone sales, supporting his argument that the company’s shares should trade at a higher price-to-earnings multiple.

Apple also said that App Store spending on Wednesday last week reached US$386 million, a single-day record and a 20 percent increase from a year earlier.

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