International

Apple Sales Lull In China

The smartphone market in China has gotten so heated that none other than Apple may be softening in the glare.

Financial Times reported that sales, once at a frenzy in the nation, are now a tougher row to hoe as crowds gather in the tech darling’s stores but do not actually open up their wallets. Staff in flagship stores say the quiet may be a short-term one, with a pause in place until the iPhone 7 debuts. That unveiling is set for September of this year.

Yet, a larger problem may be afoot as sales actually fell in the quarter last reported, with a 30 percent plus drop raising more than a few eyebrows. The fact remains that competition is stiff, and cheaper competitors are coming to circle Apple’s smartphone domain. The technology is competitive, too, according to FT. The status symbol luster tied to the brand name may be waning as, say, dual-lens cameras are playing catch-up in the country, said some of the nation’s observers. Elsewhere in headaches related to the country, the firm is facing a ban on iTunes and its video service.

To put the smartphone competition in context, noted FT, consider that relative unknowns, such as Oppo and Vivo, along with Huawei, have grabbed the top three slots in the country’s smartphone market. In the most recent quarter, Apple was a distant fifth in the race, and similar to woes experienced by other tech behemoths, such as Samsung, what was once hot is now decidedly not.

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