There is a common saying among expats in China – particularly longtime “China Hands” – that goes like this: The more time you spend in China, the less you understand it. So it’s with this in mind that we try and break down exactly what’s going wrong for Apple in China these days, likely a confluence of factors from politics and economics to nationalism and a rapidly changing consumer market. There’s no easy answer.
People have begun wondering what’s wrong following a few worrying signs: Apple announced a severe slowdown in iPhone sales in China on its recent earnings call, a new report by IDC confirmed a concerning tumble in iPhone sales, and Apple’s uncharacteristic decision to cut prices on the latest model phones sold at some of China’s largest retailers. These don’t seem like moves that would be made by a strong, confident company.
So what’s wrong in China? Let’s dig in.