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IPhone Sales in China Shrink as US Political Tensions Grow

Demand for Apple’s new iPhone 15 lineup is weaker in China than for last year’s models, according to analysts.

Sales for the iPhone 15 are down 4.5% in China compared to iPhone 14 sales in the first two weeks after its launch, according to Counterpoint Research. Separately, Bloomberg reported on Monday financial firm Jefferies said iPhone 15 sales dropped by a double-digit percentage following strong customer demand for Huawei’s new Mate 60 smartphone line.

Apple (AAPL) shares fell 0.08% following the reports.

The reports come amid a floundering Chinese economy, a struggling housing market, and more competition among higher-end vendors in China, particularly from Chinese device manufacturer Huawei.

“We’re seeing a lot of nationalism right now as Chinese consumers who think they’ve been wronged by the US government and sanctions are gravitating toward the Mate 60 and that is edging into Apple volumes,” Jeff Fieldhack, research director at Counterpoint, told CNN.

At the same time, China remains very important to Apple as it is the largest market behind the US. Fieldhack said he doesn’t believe Huawei will surpass Apple right now in terms of smartphone sales but expects continued interest in the Mate 60 will continue to “eek” into Apple’s numbers.

“Apple made a lot of gains during its launch period last year, where it became number one in China,” he said. “Things looked strong but now, with the political tension and competition, that is a reason for concern.”

However, the Phone 15 lineup is up about 10% year-over-year in the US, according to Counterpoint. That’s strong growth for Apple considering sales fell for the third consecutive quarter in August, ahead of the iPhone 15 launch.

The latest iPhone 15 devices come with a slimmer design, a more-advanced main camera system and a customizable Action button, which gives the silence button additional controls, from starting a voice memo to writing a note. Perhaps the biggest change coming to the models is that they will now use a USB-C charging cord, ending an 11-year run with Apple’s proprietary Lightning charging cable.

This isn’t the first time the Mate 60 has made headlines since its late August launch. In September, the US government sought more information about the Mate 60 Pro’s 5G Kirin 9000s processor reportedly developed specifically for the manufacturer. Its debut shocked industry experts who questioned how the company could make such a chip following sweeping efforts by the United States to restrict China’s access to foreign chip technology because of perceived national security concerns.

Source : CNN