China gets Apple fever, again

After Tuesday’s event, “iPhone 12” was the No. 1 trending topic on Weibo, with 6 billion (repeat billion) views.

From Reuters’ “In China, Apple’s 5G iPhone 12 sparks fever-pitch, but divided reaction

apple fever china 5GIn its second-largest market by revenue, Apple’s announcement was feverishly discussed on social media. With over 6 billion views, the tag ‘iPhone12’ ranked as the no. 1 topic on China’s Twitter-like Weibo.

Asked if they’d buy the new iPhone, which will give Apple users 5G access in a market where such networks are already widespread, respondents to a Caijing magazine poll were almost evenly split: some 10,000 voted no, 9,269 said yes, and just over 5,400 said they were still considering it…

With the new model in view, research firm Canalys recently revised its forecast for iPhone shipments to China in fourth-quarter 2020 to a 14% year-on-year increase, a big swing from the 1% decrease it originally predicted.

My take: If there is to be a 5G supercycle, this is where it happens.

UPDATE: StatCounter’s chart shows the China market in more detail…


  1. Romeo A Esparrago Jr said:
    This is encouraging to hear.

    “ Throughout the past year though, consumer sentiment has yet to turn negative on Apple, even as Huawei’s troubles have made headlines in China.

    Apple’s unit shipments in China increased 35% year-on-year in China in the second quarter of 2020, according to Canalys. That made it the only top brand besides Huawei to see positive growth – a feat it achieved even without offering a 5G device. “

    October 15, 2020
  2. Fred Stein said:
    Fredonomics: The data implies 5,400 of about 20,000 are still considering. Might we infer more switchers from Android, more specifically from Huawei?

    Note also: Huawei market share gains start in 2017. Wonder why?

    October 15, 2020
    • Bart Yee said:
      IMO, China nationalistic smartphone purchasing in 2017 coincided with the big 3-4 makers (Huawei, Xiaomi, OPPO & vivo) getting their product and marketing acts together and offering some good value products. (And perhaps getting more state support) This also coincided with US administration sabre/market rattling culminating in Tariff War starting in July 2018 which pushed Apple XS China sales way down, led to earnings warning, and brought AAPL down as well in early 2019. Thus, we know Apple can easily be affected if China chooses to use a patriotic call to further embrace domestic home brands at the expense of US brands. Samsung has already felt the brunt of this having been pushed almost out of the China market to <1%.

      October 15, 2020
      • Jerry Doyle said:
        @Bart Yee: I agree fully with your comments to brother Fred. China, though, needs to be careful going forward as a developed nation in using its patriotic call to further embrace domestic brands to punish other international brands.

        China fast is moving away from a developing nation where it’s labor and wages are the most competitive and instead moving to a developed nation where it needs to service more peoples other than its own to increase domestic living standards, which the good Chinese citizens now have tasted and created more thirst for higher living standards of life style.

        China needs the WTO and its own economy fast is becoming globally interconnected with the international communities’ economies. What is happening to Huawei is an example. The Huawei problem eventually will be resolved. It will be resolved for the very reason I denote above.

        In a global interconnected economy parties must find ways and paths to resolve their differences for the good of their respective economies. This is more true for an authoritarian regime where the populous must be kept content with their continuing thirst for increased standard of living, if the authoritarian regime wants to retain its power and hold over its populous.

        October 15, 2020
  3. Bart Yee said:
    “Asked if they’d buy the new iPhone, which will give Apple users 5G access in a market where such networks are already widespread, respondents to a Caijing magazine poll were almost evenly split: some 10,000 voted no, 9,269 said yes, and just over 5,400 said they were still considering it.”

    That would be a huge jump in China sales if 37-38% of prospective buyers would buy and another 22% consider it buying it. This is much better than a typical iOS – Android split. Apple would probably be ecstatic to regain a full quarterly 10-20% market share instead of just in calendar Q4’s. Data from Counterpoint research:

    counterpointresearch dot com/china-smartphone-share/

    We’ll see how China preorders stack up once available. Sure to see a number of the US and Hong Kong middlemen looking to profit from bringing in iPhones through Hong Kong to China if wait times back up significantly due to scarcity.

    I’m also quite sure a number of Android copies, Notch and camera arrays included, will rapidly surface as did Watch design copies. IMO, in China and many other Asian countries, perception from afar is almost as good as reality, at least until you look closely and the truth is revealed, if it is. (Based on my Asian heritage and observations)

    October 15, 2020
  4. Jerry Doyle said:
    “Nikki Asia” reported that Apple and its key suppliers (Foxconn & Pegatron) are running at full production speed on the 5G iPhone 12 range even during China’s 2 most important holidays, the Mid-Autumn Festival & the Golden Week holiday that follows its National Day. The production volume for the new 5G iPhone range is believed between 73M & 74M units for this year. This is a little less than Apple’s 80M units’ worth of components due to production delays from COVID-19.

    Nikkei Asia says the production of all the latest iPhones and the flagship 5G lineup remains in China, despite the tech industry’s huge migration out of China. Remember, Apple’s iPhone is the first smartphone to use TSMC latest 5-nanometer chip production technology, currently the industry’s most advanced. Huawei is limited in its access to this chip for its flagship Mate 40. The Mate 40 will be equipped with Huawei’s in-house designed Kirin mobile processor.

    Luke Lin, an analyst with Digitimes, expects Samsung, Apple, Oppo, Vivo, & Xiaomi to see healthy growth in smartphone shipment next year while Huawei will see a significant decline due to US crackdown. Total iPhone sales will surpass 220 M units in 2021, from around 195M units this year. Apple will reclaim the #2 position in the global smartphone market, according to Lin’s forecast.

    October 15, 2020

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