Tackling the smartphone market in China has to be nothing short of an exercise in frustration for Apple. On the one hand, the country remains one of Apple’s most strategic geographic regions, bolstered by a population of 1.35 billion people. But on the other hand, Apple is finding that maneuvering within the company is fraught with no shortage of challenges.

From patent troll lawsuits and iPhone 7 clones already hitting the streets, it seems that we can’t go a week without some sort of obstacle emerging in Apple’s path. And to top it all off, now comes word that competition within the Chinese smartphone market is fiercer than ever before, leaving Apple in a position of playing catch-up.

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According to a new report from Counterpoint Research, Apple’s share of the smartphone market in China recently dropped from 12% down to 10.8%. In turn, Bloomberg notes that Apple has since “dropped to fifth place in Chinese smartphone shipments, losing ground in its biggest overseas market.”

Checking in above Apple are a number of local brands, including Huawei, Vivo, Oppo and Xiaomi who, taken together, account for 53% of all smartphone shipments in the country.

Looking ahead, it remains to be seen if the impending iPhone 7 release can help inject a little bit of life into somewhat stagnant iPhone sales. In the meantime, Apple is set to release its earnings results for the June quarter on July 26. And from what we’ve gathered so far, it looks like Apple may report another year over year decline in iPhone sales.

 

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