China: Apple iPhone Loses No. 1 Position After Five Years

A report released on Friday has revealed that Apple’s iPhone did not finish in first place for the first time in five years. The tech giant had taken the first position in China since 2012 but a local competitor has sold 17 million, passing Apple by five million units in 2016.

The company that sold the 17 million units was Oppo, a Chinese electronics manufacturer that sells a number of electronic devices such as smartphones and Blu Ray players. The phone that helped the company take first place was the Oppo R9, which sold 17 million units last year. Apple sold 12 million iPhones 6s last year, which is around two percent of the phones sold in China.

It is the first time since 2012 that the tech giant doesn’t finish the year with the best-selling smartphone, according to Counterpoint Research. Apple released the iPhone 6s in 2015 and last year, it released the iPhone 7. The research says the iPhone 6s saw its negative growth being somewhat helped by some of the healthy demand for the new iPhone in the last quarter of 2016. The research also added that Apple remains in vulnerable position and that there is higher expectation already with the rumored flagship.

Apple has strong competition in China, with Huawei, Oppo and Vivo releasing new and impressive smartphones in 2016. Companies such as Oppo and Vivo released phones at low prices with good specs, catching attention of a high percentage of customers in the country. Counterpoint Research says that one of the biggest challenges for the company in China is that a bulk of the popular models are mid-end, which outs a cap on growth for companies like Apple.

Apple is rumored to be working on the iPhone 8, which is said to be coming in 2017 as part of the tenth anniversary of the iPhone. The iPhone 7, released last year, did bring a few changes and improvements such as dual camera but the big changes are rumored to be for the iPhone 8. A curved or display that wraps around the screen has been rumored for the next iPhone.

Apple has not revealed the release date for the iPhone 8 but it is rumored that the company will announce it in September, the month when it usually announces its phones.