An interesting report surfaced earlier this week stating that China's shipments of smartphones from Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp. and other makers that don't use the Android operating system rose by about 33 percent in the final quarter of last year, according to government and analyst data, indicating strong sales for the iPhone in its largest market outside the U.S.
The BloombergBusiness report further noted that China based Marbridge Consulting said in a recent e-mail that "About 24.3 million smartphones not powered by Google Inc.'s software shipped within China between October and December, according to data provided by the China Academy of Telecommunication Research, a research arm of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology." It's believed that "The vast majority of which would be comprised of iPhones, increased by a third from the same period a year earlier."
Alberto Moel, an analyst for Sanford C Bernstein in Hong Kong, said in an e-mail to Bloomberg that "This would be a surprise. Consensus is not pricing in any major blowout in Q4 for Apple, so this would be counter to the current investor sentiment."
While that news is certainly a positive, it's being reported today that Best Buy's holiday quarter were disappointing due to slower than expected smartphone sales and TSMC, one of Apple's chip suppliers, had declining sales due to a slowdown in smartphones.
Another Bloomberg report posted yesterday titled "TSMC Foresees Second Straight Sales Decline Amid Mobile Gloom," states that the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. forecast its second consecutive fall in quarterly sales and warned of weak chip and smartphone demand from a slowing global economy. The world's largest contract chipmaker is predicting another decline in revenue after fourth-quarter sales dropped for the first time in four years."
And Lastly, we can't forget that Samsung's chip business was a let down for them in Q4. So if both iPhone 6s supplier's sales are down for smartphone chips, it's hard to see a surprise rainbow on the horizon for Apple's iPhone 6s sales.
So will there be an upside surprise on January 26 when Apple releases their financials as Marbridge Consulting is suggesting, or will the more sober reality from TSMC's financial reporting support the view that the iPhone 6s can't outmaneuver the slowing global economy?