iPhone sales up 33% in China

And there you have it.

First this:


Sales in China of non-Android smartphones—a category composed primarily of Apple iPhones—grew 33% last quarter, according to Stifel analyst Aaron Rakers.

That flies in the face of a series of bearish reports that have helped push the Apple’s AAPL 1.45% share price down more than 16% over the past month.

In the wake of those reports—based on warnings from Asian parts suppliers—most Apple analysts trimmed their March quarter iPhone estimates. But at least five cut their December estimates as well. Two of them—Morgan Stanley’s Katy Huberty and Cowan’s Timothy Arcuri—have told clients that Apple may report on Jan. 26 that it sold fewer iPhones last quarter than it did in the same quarter the year before.

This despite CEO Tim Cook’s assurance in October that Apple was on track to beat last year’s record sale of 74.5 million iPhones.

Then this:


“Struggling” would be one way to describe Apple stock’s recent performance.

Shares of the company, a stock found in many investors’ portfolios, dipped below $100 last week after a clutch of Wall Street banks cut estimates for iPhone sales. Flash forward, however, and Bank of America Merrill Lynch has issued some (rare) good news for the tech giant that it says it has detected coming from a very important market: China.

According to a recent BofAML survey of more than 1,000 respondents in China, the iPhone remains the country’s most popular phone brand and there is a good chance that people who lack iPhones will switch over in the next couple of years.

“The survey indicates that a large portion of respondents own both iPhones and iPads, suggesting the ecosystem is healthy and sticky as many Apple users own more than 1 type of Apple product,” analysts led by Wamsi Mohan said.

Apple has been increasing its phone market share in Asia, and this appears likely to continue, the analysts said. “When asked which brand respondents would likely purchase when buying their next (or first) smartphone, 39 percent of the respondents said that they would buy Apple next. Huawei was the next most popular brand (preferred by 25 percent of the respondents), while Samsung was preferred by 17 percent of the respondents.”

In addition, the Bank of America survey showed that many smartphone users in China will be buying phones at a rather rapid pace. Right now, about 37 percent of survey participants have phones that are less than a year old, and 38 percent have smartphones that are from one to two years old, yet 57 percent plan to buy their next (or first) smartphone within a year. Only 6 percent said they would wait three or more years.

Followed by this:


Apple (AAPL - Get Report) rose Tuesday after Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts upgraded the stock, saying they’re bullish on the launches of the new Apple Watch, the iPhone 6c and the iPhone 7 along with the company’s large cash balance.

In addition, the bank’s China survey showed that iPhone is the most popular brand there, and about half of current users plan to buy a new iPhone in the next year. That could give Apple a gain in market share.

The iPhone 6c will likely be priced lower and may “drive increased conversions from feature phones,” analyst Wamsi Mohan and his team wrote