Smartphone shipments to China in February fell to their lowest in six years, as consumers continued to put off handset purchases amid a slowing economy, according to data from the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology, a government-affiliated research institute.
Reuters notes that shipments totaled 14.5 million units, down 19.9% from a year ago. That’s the lowest since February 2013, when shipments to the China totaled 20.7 million. Apple’s share of the premium smartphone market ($500 and higher) fell to 54.6% from 81.2%.
Apple has been under pressure in China for the past three years. Ongoing patent battles with Qualcomm are a distraction, while Apple is being heavily criticized for its expensive retail prices.
The company has teamed up with China’s Ant Financial and local banks to offer interest-free iPhone financing. Also, some third-party retailers are offering Apple smartphones iPhones at discounted prices.