Apple sells less than 500,000 phones in China in February amid the coronavirus

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Apple sold less than half a million smartphones in China in February, government data showed on Monday, when the coronavirus outbreak paralyzed demand. China halted travel and asked residents to avoid public places at the end of January, just before the Lunar New Year festival, an important gift party. Those restrictions remained for the most part during most of February.

In total, mobile phone brands sent a total of 6.34 million devices that month, 54.7 percent less than the 14 million in February 2019, data from the Academy of Information Technology and Communications of China.

Android brands, which include devices manufactured by Huawei Technologies and Xiaomi, accounted for most of the fall, as they collectively saw shipments decreased from 12.72 million units in February 2019 to 5.85 million, the data showed.

Shipments of Apple devices dropped to 494,000, from 1.27 million in February 2019. In January, their shipments had remained stable at just over 2 million.

Research firms IDC and Canalys had previously predicted that total shipments of smartphones would fall approximately 40 percent in the first quarter as the virus outbreak harmed demand and caused supply chain problems.

Apple-branded stores in China remained closed for at least two weeks in February due to increased fears of the coronavirus outbreak.

The company's CEO, Tim Cook, wrote a letter to investors that month warning that he would not comply with his initial income guide for the current quarter due to demand problems.

© Thomson Reuters 2020

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