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Apple likely had a big China quarter, even as the market declined

Apple likely had a big China quarter, even as the market declined
[Photo: Flickr user chinnian]

Apple’s first-quarter earnings are coming up February 1 (we’ll have a full preview), at which time we’ll get a much clearer picture of the impact of its 2017 phone line, especially the new iPhone X. By most accounts the numbers will be strong, and the key driver of phone sales in the quarter may be the China market. This is despite the overall Chinese smartphone market declining in 2017.

Morgan Stanley Research Analyst Katy Huberty says iPhone X adoption in China “dwarfed” the competition (Oppo, Vivo, Huawei) in the quarter, and outpaced sales of the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus. She adds that iPhone retention rates (the likelihood of customers continuing to buy the devices) continue to climb higher than Apple’s Chinese competitors.

Meanwhile, Canalys says the world’s largest smartphone market (China) ended its growth streak with a 4% decline in 2017 to 459 million units–caused in large part by a surprising 14% year-on-year contraction in the fourth quarter to 113 million units.

Analyst Neil Cybart of Above Avolan expects a 5% year-over-year lift in overall iPhone sales for the fourth calendar quarter, putting sales of the devices at 82 million for the holiday quarter.

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