Baidu: Apple’s revenues in China COULD be down 20%

Apple revenues in China could be down 20 percent in China in its quarterly earnings report, according to research by Baidu (the “Chinese Google”) as noted by CNBC. Of course, the key word in that sentence is “could.”

As part of its online suite of products Baidu offers mapping software and a search platform. It 70% to 80% marketshare in the Chinese search market and logs billions of location requests on Baidu Maps. Using these tools on Apple retail stores in mainland China, Baidu counted the volume of map queries of all the stores.

Baidu says that, in the last quarter of 2015, map query volumes were up 15.4 % year-on-year, which corresponded with a 14% rise in Apple's China revenue in that same period. However, in the first quarter of 2016, map queries declined 24.5% year-on-year, which was parallel with a 26% decline in Apple's China revenue.

On the other hand, China’s quarterly iOS revenue grew nearly 2.2x year-over-year from the first quarter of 2015 to the first quarter of 2016, mostly from in-app purchases within mobile games, according to the ”

However, if Baidu is correct, lower revenue would be a continuation of Apple’s woes in China. The Chines government has decided that app stores operators such as the Cupertino, California-based company must establish the identity of users, while monitoring and reporting postings that contain banned content. Earlier this month Apple's China branch was fined 50,000 yuan ($7,595) for "serious dishonest acts” such as suspected tax evasion. Also this month, Shenzhen Baili, a Chinese company won a Beijing patent office ruling, that the the iPhone 6 copied its own Baili 100C smartphone (although Shenzhen Baili is apparently no longer operating).