Apple forecast its first revenue drop in 13 years on 27 January and reported the slowest-ever increase in iPhone shipments as the critical Chinese market showed signs of cooling down. Despite this, the company reported revenue of $18.37bn (£12.83) from Greater China, accounting for 24.2% of total revenue. Revenue from the region nearly doubled in the fourth quarter. Avneesh Saxena, vice president of DCI Asia/Pacific, said Apple had performed well in the current economic state, but that the company will have to continue to be innovative if it wants to keep its edge.
"I feel that given the times and environment we are in, Apple has done really well. But the other point I'd like to make is that too much is still dependent on iPhone – more than 65% of their revenue still comes from there – and that is a concern. They have to start looking at a more holistic contribution from some of their other products and streams," Saxena said.
Saxena added that Apple faces tough competition from Chinese technology giants whose phones have become increasingly popular. "Chinese vendors have come up in the last few years with formidable designs and price points that are almost 30-40% cheaper.
"f you look at Huawei, it's not a poor man's phone anymore – it's actually a solid contender to Samsung and the iPhone. To keep that margin and distance between them and the others, they'll [Apple will] have to come up with some innovative designs in the future," Saxena said.
Apple's China sales grew by 84% in the year to September 2015. And despite the slowdown, the company remains the most profitable in the S&P 500 and the most valuable publicly traded US tech company.