Apple has become the top smartphone vendor in China for the first time since 2015, with a dominant Q4 of 2021.
According to Counterpoint Research, the company reached a record 23% market share for the fourth quarter of 2021. Its unit sales grew 32% year-on-year.
There are a number of factors for Apple’s wildly successful quarter. For one thing, it coincides with Huawei’s ongoing struggles and withdrawal from the premium market, as the once dominant home brand suffers from prohibitive sanctions on western technology and market access.
The Chinese smartphone market isn’t quite vibrant as it once was, either, with a 9% drop in total smartphone sales.
Another important factor is that this spike in market share coincided with the launch of the iPhone 13 family, which was priced lower for the Chinese market this time around.
Finally, the global chip and component shortage has made this an unusual year when it comes to supply and release strategy. While Apple hasn’t been immune from these trials, it’s proved more resilient than most other smartphone manufacturers.
In terms of the bigger picture, Apple finished 2021 as the third biggest smartphone vendor in China, behind Vivo and Oppo. It secured 16% of the market for the whole year.
Those contrasting fortunes for Apple and Huawei are perfectly illustrated by the fact that Apple’s unit sales rose 47% across 2021, while Huawei’s dropped 68%.