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China smartphone market slumps to 10-year low in 2022

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After a decade of frantic growth, China’s smartphone market is hitting a speed bump as COVID-19 roils the world’s second-largest economy.

The country’s smartphone shipments dropped 14% year-over-year in 2022, reaching a ten-year low, according to research firm Counterpoint. It was also the first time that China’s handset sales had slid below 300 million units in ten years, according to Canalys. Even in December, which has historically seen seasonal jumps in sales, China recorded a 5% quarter-to-quarter decline in smartphone shipments.

The three-year-long stringent “zero-COVID” policy that disrupted businesses and dampened consumer confidence, coupled with macroeconomic headwinds, spelled an end to China’s years of double-digit growth. Troubles mounted when the abrupt relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions in early December resulted in a surge in cases, further adding pressure to the waning economy. Last year, China’s GDP grew 3%, its lowest in decades other than 2020.

Alibaba’s annual shopping bonanza in November offered some clues to…



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