Smartphone Shipments Drop In China As Covid Takes Toll

The Tap Economy Part 1: Screen Commerce

Smartphone shipments fall steeply year-on-year within China as Covid-19 lockdowns and tensions with West take toll on economy

Smartphone shipments for the month of October within China fell 27.2 percent year-on-year to 23.78 million units, according to a report from the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology on Monday.

For the January to October period shipments fell 22 percent year-on-year to 215 million units, the study said.

The figures come as the Centre for Economics and Business Research pushes back the date when it expects China to overtake the US as the world’s biggest economy by several years due to the economic toll of the Covid-19 pandemic, including multiple extended lockdowns this year that have disrupted supply chains and dampened domestic consumer demand.

The research firm said it now expects China’s output to exceed that of the US in 2036, up from a forecast date of 2030 last year.

market chinaSlowing growth

Two years ago the firm said it foresaw 2028 as the landmark date.

Trade tensions with western countries were a further factor in delaying China’s economic growth, according to the centre’s latest “world economic league table”, released on Monday.

China until earlier this month held to a strict zero-Covid policy that it began loosening after widespread and rare protests.

Analysts from Capital Economics said in a research note last week that the number of people on the streets across China “has dropped off sharply from already subdued levels across the country” and that this “will be affecting demand”.

‘Severe impact’

Lian Yubo, vice president of China’s largest electric carmaker BYD, said last week at a forum in Shenzhen that Covid “has severely impacted our production” and that 20 to 30 percent of the company’s staff are “sick at home”.

He said the firm’s monthly production was likely to fall short of its targets by 20,000 to 30,000 vehicles for December.

The world’s biggest iPhone production plant, in Zhengzhou, saw production significantly disrupted in the peak season ahead of the Western and Chinese holidays due to a Covid outbreak.