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China market buoying iPhone shipments

Sales of Apple's iPhone 6 have been strong particularly in China driving growth in the smartphone's shipments, according to sources at upstream suppliers.

More than 50 million iPhone 6 devices were shipped in the fourth quarter of 2014, the sources disclosed. Shipments are set to remain above 50 million units in the first quarter of 2015, buoyed mainly by strong sales in China, the sources said.

In China, sales of Apple's iPhone 6 reached 15-20 million units in the fourth quarter of 2014, the sources noted. China-sales of the 6-series are set to remain at similar levels in the first quarter of 2015, the sources said.

Judging from current order visibility, the sources estimated that 45-50 million iPhone 6 devices would be shipped worldwide in the second quarter of 2015 with China contributing one-third of total shipments.

According to sources at analog IC suppliers, sales of Apple's iPhone 6 in China and other emerging markets have exceeded their expectations. The 6-series could be the best selling iPhone model of all time, the sources suggested.

The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus were first rolled out around the end of third-quarter 2014, and became available in China starting October 17.

While sales of Apple's iPhone 6 series have been strong since launch, sales of Android-based smartphones have not picked up, according to industry sources. Except Samsung Electronics, which has started to enjoy growth in sales of its recently-announced Galaxy S6, other Android phone makers have seen their sales thus far in 2015 lower than a year earlier, the sources indicated.

Sources at Taiwan-based IC design houses have revealed that orders placed by their Android device customers have been weaker than expected which may affect their sales performance in the first quarter. The IC design houses said they are also cautious about orders placed by Android phone makers for the second quarter.


Strong demand in China is driving shipment growth of Apple's iPhone 6 devices
Photo: Michael Lee, Digitimes, March 2015

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