Apple's smartphone shipments in China shrank 2.1% in the final quarter of 2023 from the same year-ago period, news agency Reuters reported on Thursday.
The drop underscores the challenges facing the US firm in its third biggest market, as some Chinese companies and government agencies limit employees' use of Apple devices, a measure that mirrors US government restrictions on Chinese apps on security grounds.
Huawei, whose smartphone business was decimated by US sanctions, also made a comeback last year with new launches, intensifying competition in the world's biggest smartphone market that grew just 1.2% in the final quarter of 2023.
Huawei's shipments increased 36.2% in the last quarter of the year, becoming the fourth largest smartphone vendor in China in the period with a 13.9% market share, up from 10.3% in the same year-ago quarter.
Earlier this month, Apple offered rare discounts on its iPhones, cutting retail prices by as much as 500 yuan ($70) amid growing competitive pressure.
Analysts predicted earlier this month that Apple's shipment volumes would continue declining by double digits in 2024, while Huawei is seen bolstering its market share.
They estimate Huawei will ship around 64 million smartphones worldwide in 2024, a significant rise from fewer than 35 million units projected for 2023.
Overall, shipment volume in China's smartphone market was 73.63 million units in the fourth quarter. For the full year, shipment volume was 271 million units, down 5%, IDC said. ( with inputs from Reuters)