China smartphone market slumps to 10-year low in 2022 • TechCrunch

After a decade of frantic development, China’s smartphone market is hitting a pace bump as COVID-19 roils the world’s second-largest economic system.

The nation’s smartphone shipments dropped 14% year-over-year in 2022, reaching a ten-year low, in response to analysis agency Counterpoint. It was additionally the primary time that China’s handset gross sales had slid beneath 300 million items in ten years, in response to Canalys. Even in December, which has traditionally seen seasonal jumps in gross sales, China recorded a 5% quarter-to-quarter decline in smartphone shipments.

The three-year-long stringent “zero-COVID” coverage that disrupted companies and dampened shopper confidence, coupled with macroeconomic headwinds, spelled an finish to China’s years of double-digit development. Troubles mounted when the abrupt rest of COVID-19 restrictions in early December resulted in a surge in instances, additional including strain to the waning economic system. Final yr, China’s GDP grew 3%, its lowest in many years aside from 2020.

Alibaba’s annual procuring bonanza in November supplied some clues to China’s weakening spending energy. The occasion, which is usually in comparison with Black Friday and seen as a bellwether for the nation’s shopper urge for food, didn’t disclose its ultimate gross sales quantity in 2022 for the primary time since its inception in 2009.

There was one winner on this gloomy time. Apple completed the yr with an all-time excessive market share of 18% because of “its aggressive promotions” and “resilient” demand within the high-end phase in China, in response to Canalys. Its ascent additionally coincides with Huawei’s fall from grace within the premium handset market since U.S. sanctions lower off its entry to high-end chipsets.

Apple’s relationship with China stays a fragile one. The nation just isn’t solely one in every of its greatest markets however has been the manufacturing spine that created the world’s most respected firm right now. Prior to now few years, nevertheless, COVID-related disruptions, akin to a uncommon employee protest at a serious Foxconn plant that delayed manufacturing, prompted the {hardware} juggernaut to rethink its provide chain technique. The Wall Road Journal reported in early December that Apple was seeking to relocate a few of its provide chains out of China to different components of Asia, together with Vietnam and India.

India, specifically, is anticipated to play an even bigger position in Apple’s provide chains because the agency plans to develop its manufacturing capability within the nation to provide 25% of all iPhones by 2025, in response to JP Morgan analysts.

In This fall, the highest smartphone manufacturers in China by cargo had been Apple, Vivo, Oppo, Honor (which was spun off from Huawei following U.S. sanctions on the guardian agency), and Xiaomi.

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