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Apple Smartphone Models in China Hit All-Time Record in Q4’21

by Juha Winter | Mar 02, 2022

Despite the headwinds caused by component supply constraints, Apple’s smartphones had a really good final quarter of the year 2021 in China. Indeed, never before has Apple claimed the no.1 spot as the largest smartphone vendor in terms of shipments in China during any quarter, surpassing all the major domestic brands such as Honor, Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi.

Apple had three out of the top-five smartphone models in China as shown in the graph below, with the latest iPhone 13 generation (except for the 13 ‘mini’) taking the whole top-3.

China Top-5 Smartphones in Q4 2021 

In the past, Apple has enjoyed varying degrees of success in China, usually doing relatively well in the final quarter of the year when the new model line-up is shipping in volumes, but even then, the largest domestic brands have usually beaten the American vendor in shipments. Q4’21 marks the first time in history when that didn’t happen.

In terms of models, Apple’s previous generation iPhone 12 and 12 Pro Max also did well, ranking high on our list. The smaller ‘mini’ models of both iPhone 13 and 12 appear to be less popular in China, as it seems that Chinese buyers have a preference for a larger display size, also with domestic smartphone models.

Was Q4’21 just a one-off lucky quarter or will Apple’s success continue on a stable trajectory in China? Clients of Strategy Analytics’ Smartphone Model Tracker (SMT) services can get additional insights on the topic here.

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