Apple staff and customers, wearing masks to protect themselves from the COVID-19 coronavirus, are seen at the store premises in Beijing on February 22, 2020.
Nicolas Asfouri | AFP | Getty Images
Apple sold less than half a million smartphones in China in February, according to government data on Monday, as the coronavirus outbreak crippled demand.
China has placed travel restrictions on residents and asked residents to avoid public places in late January, just before the Lunar New Year festival, a big gift party. These restrictions remained largely in place for most of February.
In total, mobile phone brands shipped a total of 6.34 million devices this month, down 54.7% from 14 million in February 2019, according to data from the China Academy of Information. and Communications Technology.
Android brands, which include devices made by Huawei Technologies and Xiaomi, accounted for most of the drop, as they collectively saw deliveries drop from 12.72 million units in February 2019 to 5.85 million, according to the data.
Deliveries of Apple devices fell to 494,000 from 1.27 million in February 2019. In January, their deliveries remained at just over 2 million.
Research companies IDC and Canalys previously predicted that global smartphone shipments would drop by about 40% in the first quarter, as the virus epidemic had dampened demand and triggered a supply chain problem.
Apple brand stores in China were closed for at least two weeks in February as fears over the coronavirus epidemic mounted.
The company’s CEO, Tim Cook, wrote a letter to investors this month, warning him that he would not meet his initial revenue forecast for the quarter due to demand problems.