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A Secret Slide for Apple in China? Look Inside the Numbers

It has been demonstrated by Apple, Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) that it can sell smartphones like no one’s business, and especially in the United States and the burgeoning market in China. Overall, sales of Apple products in China were robust in the company’s latest quarterly report. But there is evidence that suggests that Apple may be losing some of its luster in China, especially iwith its iPhone.

Should this Concern Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Google Inc (GOOG)?

In the most recent report by the International Data Corporation called the “Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker,” which provides information on sales and volume of mobile phones sold around the world (including smartphones like the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy), the mobile phone market grew by 1 percent year-over-year during the second quarter of 2012, and virtually every company in the market saw gains, with Apple and Samsung still leading the way – more than doubling their market share in 2012 compared to a year earlier.

However, there may be some concern over at Apple, where its China sales overall of $5.7 billion in the second quarter of 2012 was 48 percent higher than in the same quarter of 2011 – but was 28 percent lower than the first quarter of 2012 ($7.9 billion).  This is noteworthy, since China’s growth rate is at about 8-9 percent every ear, yet the revenue number is down. Overall, Apple’s phone sales were down 26 percent overall from the prior quarter, though IDC analysts see that as a normal pattern for Apple – it introduces a new iPhone version just about every year, and sales boom for two quarters upon the launch, then wane in preparation of the newest version.

Is this just another pre-launch iPhone lag, or can the results in China portend some danger? After all, Apple is dealing with some regulatory issues in the country now, which may affect its image and may taint the iPhone 5 launch later this year. Only the results of the i5 launch can tell us for sure whether Apple is truly losing market share in China or elsewhere.

Samsung is still the leader among smartphones, but Apple is a close second and is the only true competitor left in the market. Nokia Corporation (NYSE:NOK) has lagged behind, the last quarter posting low numbers not seen since 2005, according to the IDC report.

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