Apple experienced a decline of almost 20% in iPhone shipments in China in 4Q18 while its key competitor and the world's second-largest smartphone provider Huawei Technologies enjoyed a sales boost of 23.3% in the region over the same period, according to IDC estimates.
Apple was not alone in experiencing a disappointing quarter as rival Xiaomi struggled even more as its sales plummeted almost 25%. Oppo and Viko experienced gains of 1.5% and 3.1%, respectively, as IDC revealed that China's smartphone market fell almost 10% in total during the period, blaming overall conditions in China on the decline.
Earlier this year, Apple slashed its quarterly revenue forecast from $93bn to $84bn, directly blaming China's decreasing demand for iPhones.
"While we anticipated some challenges in key emerging markets, we did not foresee the magnitude of the economic deceleration, particularly in Greater China," remarked Apple CEO Tim Cook.
However, the IDC said that the disappointing figures were because Apple's snowballing prices had damaged its competitiveness, a criticism the company has been facing increasingly of late. Huawei, on the other hand, is famous for undercutting Apple's prices and recently announced all-time high 2018 smartphone sales, with shipments exceeding 200 million units.