iPhone market share shrinks in China

The iPhone registered its first market share drop in China since August 2014, due to the fast expansion of Android-powered local smartphone brands, according to Kantar Worldpanel.

The traditional Chinese New Year ending in February in 2016 -- when major promotions always kick in to boost sales -- has led to something different this year, with Apple's iPhone market share eroded by 3.2 percentage points.

This also marks the first drop for the iPhone in the country since August 2014, according to research by Kantar Worldpanel ComTech.

"iOS declined 3.2 percentage points between February 2015 and February 2016. Huawei was able to recapture the top spot on the Smartphone brand leader board, capturing 24.4 percent of smartphones sold in urban China, just ahead of Apple's 22.2 percent," said Tamsin Timpson, a strategic insight director from KWC.

Other local Chinese brands such as Meizu and Oppo have also showed strong year-on-year growth, each capturing around 6 percent of smartphone sales during the period, the research note said.

Android's solid growth was a result of higher sales during the holiday seasons, when busy promotions took place. On the other hand, Apple rarely lowered the retail prices of its products in China throughout the year.

The research report nevertheless predicts rosy prospects for the iPhone SE in China, saying that the newly launched budget iPhone could take significant market share.