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The iPhone isn't the most popular phone in China anymore thanks to HUAWEI

Never underestimate HUAWEI on its home turf.
By

Published onOctober 17, 2023

Apple iPhone 15 Pro with older iPhones in background
Robert Triggs / Android Authority
TL;DR
  • According to two separate reports, the iPhone is no longer the most popular smartphone in China.
  • The HUAWEI Mate 60 Pro has now taken the throne.
  • Despite Apple’s downturn in China, the iPhone 15 series is selling very well in the United States.

In September, Apple launched the new iPhone 15 series. Over the past two weeks that it’s been available, it hasn’t been faring too well in China. In fact, it’s estimated that sales are down about 4.5% when compared to the same period of days after the launch of the iPhone 14 series last year.

On its own, this might not be super interesting. However, when you combine this with the runaway success of the HUAWEI Mate 60 Pro in China, you have an intriguing result: the iPhone is no longer China’s most popular smartphone. Two separate analytics firms (Jeffries and Counterpoint) confirm that the iPhone has moved to second place under the Mate 60 Pro (via Bloomberg).

If these initial estimates prove to be correct, 2023 would be the worst Chinese debut for an iPhone since 2018.

This change-up represents a unique situation in which Apple’s newest phones failed to captivate the Chinese market while HUAWEI simultaneously invigorated national pride with the Mate 60 Pro. If you remember, the Mate 60 Pro is controversial in that it sports a 5G-capable chip. With the HUAWEI ban in place, that means either HUAWEI broke sanctions to create the chip or figured out a brand new method for making them. Of course, HUAWEI is positioning itself in the latter situation, which has caused Mate 60 Pro sales to skyrocket in the country.

Of course, it’s not all bad news for Apple. Both Counterpoint and Jeffries say the iPhone 15 series is doing incredibly well in the United States. However, the Chinese market is essential for Apple, so it’s not about to brush this news off.