(Bloomberg) — Apple Inc. grew revenue in China a surprisingly strong 8% while setting a record for Indian iPhone sales, bright spots in an otherwise disappointing quarterly check-in from the world’s most valuable company.
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Those twin milestones stood out after Apple posted its third straight quarter of declining sales and predicted a similar performance in the current period, hurt by an industry-wide slump that has sapped demand for phones, computers and tablets. The iPad and Macbooks maker reported a better-than-expected 7.9% rise in revenue from China — which includes Hong Kong and Taiwan — to $15.7 billion. And iPhone sales in India grew double-digits to a new high, though executives didn’t disclose precise numbers.
China in particular has been a major drag on the global smartphone arena since last year, and has failed to bounce back as anticipated because of post-Covid economic turbulence. Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook suggested users in the world’s biggest mobile market were abandoning Android alternatives from its biggest rivals, which include Xiaomi Corp. and Huawei Technologies Co.
“Switchers were a very key part of our iPhone results for the quarter, we did set a record,” Cook told analysts on a post-results briefing.
Read more: Apple Faces Longest Sales Slowdown in Decades as iPhone Slumps
China’s smartphone market is struggling alongside a sputtering economy. Shipments have shrunk every quarter since the start of 2022, as consumers tighten their budgets to deal with a post-Covid downturn. The market could bounce back in the fourth quarter when Apple and its rivals typically release their latest devices, but that growth could be weaker than expected, IDC predicts.
Heavy discounting during the “6.18” annual June shopping festival likely propelled device sales in general, but Apple’s brand helped it outpace rivals, IDC analyst Will Wong said.
“Apple showed that it’s still the best alternative in China’s high-end segment, despite all the tensions between the US and China,” he said. “If we look at the recent 6.18 shopping festival, Apple’s price-discount promotions successfully stimulated consumer demand, but of course its premium brand name allowed consumers to feel that it’s value for money.”
While unsurprising, the Indian performance also vindicates the company’s renewed focus on a market where the iPhone has long been beyond the reach of many consumers. Apple now views the fast-expanding country as both a massive retail opportunity and an important production base for its gadgets in the longer term.
Apple’s revenue there grew by nearly 50% in the year through March to almost $6 billion, Bloomberg News has reported. The company, which just opened its first stores in the country, is planning to extend its network in India as part of an Asia-wide thrust.
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–With assistance from Mark Gurman and Nick Turner.
(Updates with an analyst’s comment from the sixth paragraph)
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