Per reporter Wang Jing Per editor Zhang Haini

Compared with the general decline of the previous day, on September 9, A-share fruit chain concept stocks rose one after another. As of the close of the day, Dafu Technology (SZ14, stock price 300134.11 yuan, market value 39.87 billion yuan) rose by more than 42%, and Honghe Technology (SH11, stock price 603256.8 yuan, market value 54.75 billion yuan) rose by more than 37%; Xinwei Communications (SZ10, stock price 300136.17 yuan, market value 98.174 billion yuan) followed suit.

On the news, Apple recently released the annual flagship new iPhone 15 (smartphone name) series, which has undergone the largest upgrade in appearance and hardware configuration in recent years. For example: the first time to equip periscope lenses, the first time to use Type-C interface (an interface form factor standard), the first time to use a mobile phone chip made of 3nm (nanometer) process, the first time to match a titanium alloy frame...

Although there are many "first" improvements, the public expects Apple to produce disruptive products rather than improvements and micro-innovations. IDC (International Data Corporation) believes that with the increasing investment of Android manufacturers in flagship products, the iPhone 15 series will undoubtedly face greater challenges, which is likely to change Apple's situation in China's high-end mobile phone market (unit price of more than $600) in the past few years.

On the morning of the 14th, Huawei Mate 60 (smartphone name) conference was finalized, Huawei is regaining the "admission ticket" of 5G, and its Mate 60 Pro+, Mate X5 ((smartphone model) folding screen mobile phone and Mate 60 Pro have been quickly sold out; Honor, OPPO (company name), Xiaomi and other major Android brands are competing for the high-end market with the dual flagship product layout of "straight board machine + folding screen". Among them, the folding screen track is one of the few growth sub-categories, and it is also the key to testing the innovation ability of mobile phone manufacturers.

IDC pointed out, "As domestic Android manufacturers have adhered to the direction of high-end development in the past few years, continuously increased R&D investment, strengthened in-depth cooperation with the supply chain, and launched more customized and differentiated solutions, Apple's share in China's high-end mobile phone market has shown a trend of narrowing." ”

Apple and Huawei are once again positive

Recently, the sluggish smartphone market has begun to become lively.

For most consumers, changes in the shape or appearance of mobile phones are more likely to attract their attention, thereby stimulating the desire to change. Last year's iPhone 14 sales were lower than expected, in large part because the appearance did not change anything, resulting in the replacement of the phone not being intuitively felt. This year, the iPhone 15 is equipped with the "Smart Island" design, completely bidding farewell to the Liu Haiping design that began to be used from the iPhone X series in 2017.

In terms of images, the iPhone 1515 Plus has been upgraded to a 4800-megapixel camera, and the iPhone 15 Pro Max has an exclusive periscope telephoto lens. Although the image capability has been greatly upgraded for Apple's mobile phone, in fact, most of the camera pixels of Android flagship mobile phones are more than 5000 million, and periscope lenses began to be used four or five years ago, and this year have even been decentralized to the mid-range product line. However, Apple does have the ability to lead the industry in the fields of chips, interactions, and computational photography.

After the release of Apple's new machine, as in previous years, netizens still complained, such as "toothpaste squeezed insincerely"; "Nothing new" and so on, but the very fragmented phenomenon is that iPhone sales have been soaring in recent years. However, this year alone in the domestic market, the situation may change.

At 9 a.m. on September 14, Huawei announced on multiple official social accounts that it would hold Huawei's autumn full-scenario new product launch conference at 9:9 p.m. on September 25. It is reported that at the meeting, Huawei will release its new mobile phone products. Previously, Huawei has released Mate2 Pro, and then pre-sold Mate 30 Pro+ and folding screen X60, Huawei "sniped" the iPhone 60 series in advance has seized the minds of some consumers.

Ivan Lam (foreign name), a senior analyst at Counterpoint Research, told reporters, "If there is no problem with supply, Mate 60 Pro (entire life cycle) sales will exceed 700 million units at least." Looking forward to the full year, TechInsights (semiconductor information platform) expects that Huawei's overall smartphone shipments this year are expected to reach 3500 million units, a year-on-year increase of 36%, and by the end of 2023, Mate 60 Pro shipments in China are expected to exceed 100 million units. It can be seen that Huawei's brand power in the high-end market, which returns with "5G speed", still exists, which may have a certain impact on Apple's share of China's high-end smartphone market.

The latest report released by UBS Securities said that due to factors such as the release of Huawei's new mobile phones and the lack of competitiveness of the iPhone 15 itself, after comprehensive evaluation, it was decided to reduce the shipment of the iPhone 15 series from 8000 million to 9000 million units to 7800 million units. This is also the first professional organization to announce a reduction in iPhone 15 shipment forecasts.

Some analysts are optimistic about the new iPhone series. Wedbush analyst Dan Ives wrote in a note to investors that Apple has 12.<> billion iPhone users worldwide, a quarter of whom have not upgraded their devices in four years.

In terms of pricing strategy, the overall pricing of the iPhone 15 series is higher than that of the Huawei Mate 60 series. IDC said: "The overall economic environment in China has not improved significantly, and consumers are still tightening their budgets for consumer electronics products, and higher product prices may affect consumers' choice preferences." If future new product sales are lower than expected, Apple is likely to still use price cuts to attract consumers. ”

Stir up the mobile phone market pattern

While Apple and Huawei compete for the domestic high-end mobile phone market share, other brands are also catching up.

IDC data shows that from the fourth quarter of last year to the second quarter of this year, Apple's market share in domestic mobile phones of more than $600 has fallen from 71.9% to 65.4%. This is not unrelated to the current bet on high-end machines by many Android manufacturers, especially in the folding track where Apple is absent.

On July 7, Honor released the folding screen flagship Magic V12 with a closed state of only 9.90mm, after folding screen mobile phones were usually closed with a thickness of more than 2 cm (that is, 1 mm is usually the limit in the industry); On August 11, Xiaomi released the folding screen flagship MIX Fold 8, Lei Jun emphasized in the annual speech on the same day that high-end is the only way for Xiaomi; On August 14, OPPO released the folding screen Find N3Flip; On September 8, Honor will also release its first external folding screen mobile phone, V Purse, which claims to be "no more than 29mm" thick.

Since its launch in 2019, after years of brewing and exploration, folding screen mobile phones have now passed the concept stage and entered the growth stage of "from 2022 to N" from 1. In terms of product experience, the sense of heaviness is the biggest pain point and obstacle for users to choose folding screens, and it is also a ruler to test the technical capabilities of manufacturers. The reporter noted that the weight of the inner folding mobile phone before 2022 is generally close to 300g (grams), and the folding screen machine will generally control the weight at about 2022g in 260; This year's folding screen is more aggressive in thinness and lightness, and the Huawei Mate X3 weighs 239g; The weight of the Honor Magic V2 has been reduced to 231g.

After entering the explosive growth stage, many institutions expect that the future market space of folding screen mobile phones is considerable. Counterpoint predicts that shipments of folding screen mobile phones in China will exceed 2023 million units in 500 and are expected to usher in an outbreak of 2024 million units in 1000; In 2025, the size of China's folding screen market will reach 1700 million units.

Folding phones hide the ambitions of Android phone manufacturers. In the view of Honor CEO (CEO) Zhao Ming, Honor folding screen mobile phones will break the boundary between straight boards and folding flagships, and the real competitor is only Apple. "Folding is definitely to impact the price of 6000+, 7000+ above the high-end market, in the past domestic manufacturers (in the high-end market) did not have much success, now everyone has the opportunity." Liu Bo, vice president of OPPO and president of China, once said.

In terms of straight plate machines with larger shipments, although Huawei's domestic sales are recovering rapidly, it still faces fierce competition from five other companies. According to IDC data, the top five smartphone manufacturers in China in the second quarter of 2023 are OPPO, vivo, Honor, Apple, Xiaomi and Huawei (IDC tied the latter two).

In addition, Huawei is still facing the "Google licensing dilemma" in overseas markets, and its peak shipments in 2019 reached about 2 million units.

In response to Huawei's return will impact the industry, IDC believes that Huawei is expected to first attack Apple in the high-end market, and wait until new chip solutions are successively used in low-end product lines before it will have a greater impact on other domestic Android manufacturers.

Speaking of Huawei, Honor CEO Zhao Ming once said: "If Huawei 5G returns, the happiest thing is Honor." He also said that after Honor became independent from Huawei, it made up for the shortcomings that existed in the past, and faced Huawei's glory again, compared with when it was in Huawei's system.

"With the return of Huawei and other domestic Android manufacturers to establish a high-end product rhythm and brand image, Apple will encounter greater challenges in China's high-end mobile phone market." Guo Tianxiang, senior analyst at IDC China, said. At present, it will take time for the smartphone industry to recover and recover, but the industry may usher in a new pattern of "thousands of sails" in the future.