A customer flaunts his iPhone X bought from an Apple outlet in Beijing, Nov 3, 2017. The US firm posted strong revenue growth in China during the third quarter of this year. (Photo provided to China Daily)
Strong revenue growth in the third quarter has ended Apple Inc's declining streak of six consecutive quarters in China, the world's largest smartphone market.
Revenue from the China market was .8 billion, up 12 percent year-on-year and up 22 percent sequentially.
The quarterly rebound shows the Cupertino, California-based company is responding well in China to mounting competition from Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and other local smartphone makers, market mavens said.
Tim Cook, Apple's CEO, said on a conference call: "We increased market share for iPhone, Mac and iPad during the quarter. We hit all-time revenue records for services for China."
The glad tidings coincided with Friday's start of sales in China of the tech giant's most-advanced iPhone X (pronounced iPhone Ten).
The gadget's expensive price tag－up to 9,688 yuan (,462)－does not appear to have intimidated Apple fans, market insiders said.
No huge crowds gathered outside Apple stores in cities like Shanghai, but that was because most buyers placed pre-sale orders online, which is considered a surefire way to get the gizmo on the launch day.
But not every such consumer was successful.
Guo Ruijing, a research and development executive at a multinational company in Shanghai, said she preordered a black, 256-GB iPhone X but was informed she would receive it in two to three weeks.
"I've been using the iPhone since its fourth generation," she said. "It's user-friendly, and the operating system is more secure than the open-sourced Android."
Given the iPhone X's relatively hefty price tag, Guo said, consumers may be better off going in for an in-store touch-and-feel experience, to figure if the iPhone 8, which is "way more cost-effective", might be preferable.
Jia Mo, an analyst at market research company Canalys, said despite the current reported overwhelming consumer enthusiasm for the iPhone X in China, its pricing structure and supply are inhibiting.
"The iPhone X will enjoy a healthy niche market status, but its popularity is unlikely to help Apple lure a broader consumer group," Jia said.
Not everyone agreed. James Yan, research director at Counterpoint Technology Market Research, said loyal Chinese consumers will still likely rush to buy the iPhone X as most of them appear to feel an urgent need to upgrade their current iPhones.
"We expect Apple will sell about 6 to 7 million units of the iPhone X in the fourth quarter of this year in China. The sales performance is expected to remain robust until June 2018," Yan said.