Apple’s China iPhone Shipments Soar 12% in March After Discounts

Apple’s China iPhone Shipments Soar 12% in March After Discounts

(Bloomberg) — Chinese iPhone shipments jumped about 12% in March after Apple Inc. and its retailers slashed prices, official data showed, suggesting efforts to arrest an accelerating decline in sales are yielding early results.

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Government data showed shipments of foreign-branded smartphones — the vast majority of which would have been Apple’s marquee device — grew to 3.75 million units in March from a year earlier. That’s an about-face from a 37% slump in the first two months of 2024, according to Bloomberg’s calculations off a monthly report by the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology. The official readout emerged after Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook, addressing an analyst’s question last week about the March quarter, said the iPhone business in mainland China grew without offering more details.

Apple has struggled to turn its Chinese business around since 2023, when the rise of local rivals such as Huawei Technologies Co. and an unofficial ban on the use of the iPhone in state agencies and firms began to depress its most important market after the US. The academy’s data showed that foreign phone shipments were down 27% in the first quarter of 2024 overall.

Read More: Apple’s Surprise iPhone China Growth Leaves Lingering Questions

Apple and its Chinese resellers began cutting prices around the start of 2024. Last week, it surprised investors with a decent beat on quarterly revenue from China, countering months of data that showed a quickening decline in iPhone sales.

Cook said iPhone revenue in mainland China grew “on a reported basis,” before adjustments related to Covid supply chain disruptions in 2022. He didn’t elaborate on that metric except to reaffirm Apple’s commitment to a market that’s shrinking but still accounted for 18% of net sales.

Investors monitor the company’s performance in China because of the country’s role as both a huge market and global production base for the iPhone.

They’re also looking for growth drivers beyond the country. This week, the company unveiled a new iPad Pro and larger iPad Air, seeking to reinvigorate another of its product lines.

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