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15 Apr, 2024 11:53

Apple loses top phone maker spot to Asian rival – data

Samsung has regained the leading position as iPhone sales slide amid the US-China trade spat
Apple loses top phone maker spot to Asian rival – data

Samsung has overtaken Apple to reclaim its position as the globe’s top smartphone maker, preliminary data released by the research firm International Data Corporation (IDC) on Sunday showed. The South Korean tech giant lost the top spot to its US rival last year. 

Apple’s smartphone shipments dropped by around 10% in the first quarter of 2024 owing to intensifying competition from Asian manufacturers, IDC data shows. Apple shipped 50.1 million iPhones in January-March of this year, down from 55.4 million units during the same period in 2023, according to the IDC.

Although Samsung saw its sales growth decline by 0.7%, it seems to be “in a stronger position overall” than either company was in recent quarters, the IDC notes. It added that Samsung’s market share stood at 20.8% in 1Q24, compared to Apple’s 17.3%.

Chinese makers Xiaomi, Transsion and OPPO follow Samsung and Apple to round out the top five smartphone makers, according to the research firm. Overall, global smartphone shipments increased by 7.8% year-on-year in 1Q24, the IDC stated.

Apple’s sales decline comes after its strong performance in the fourth quarter of 2023, when it overtook Samsung as the world’s leading phone maker, thus ending twelve years of dominance by the South Korean tech giant. Apple's gains owed to the growing popularity of high-end devices.

However, the California company’s drop in sales this year has been attributed to its challenges in key markets, particularly China. Sales of the iPhone in the company’s largest overseas market fell 24% year-on-year in the first six weeks of 2024, according to the research firm Counterpoint. Some corporations and government agencies in China have limited employees’ use of Apple devices, mirroring US government restrictions on Chinese apps, citing alleged security concerns.

Washington and Beijing have been embroiled in an escalating trade standoff since 2018. The US president at the time, Donald Trump, began imposing tariffs on Chinese goods imported by the US on grounds that Beijing was allegedly adopting unfair trade practices and engaging in intellectual property theft.

President Joe Biden has continued the tough stance on trade with China and not only left in place the tariffs imposed by his predecessor but has also implemented restrictions that block access to innovative technologies, such as in the artificial intelligence sector.

China has decried Washington’s policies as an attempt to thwart the development of the world’s second biggest economy.

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