China’s smartphone market plunged in February with shipments slipping more than 30 per cent year-on-year after returning to growth in January, data from the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology showed.

Total shipments in the month fell 31.3 per cent year-on-year to 14 million units, with local brands accounting for about 83 per cent of the total.

Foreign brands, with Apple’s iPhone accounting for the vast majority, shipped only about 2.4 million units in February. This was down 31.7 per cent year-on-year.

Total smartphone shipments in January had jumped 61.4 per cent to 29.5 million units, with local brands climbing 165 per cent.

For the first two months of 2024 total smartphone shipments increased 12.5 per cent to 43.6 million units, with 5G models up 13.3 per cent to 38.7 million.

Apple has faced a slowdown in iPhone demand in China over the past few months. Counterpoint Research data showed unit sales in the country fell 24 per cent year-on-year in the first six weeks of 2024.

TF International Securities analyst Kuo Ming-Chi predicted in late January full-year iPhone shipments would decline about 15 per cent.