The overall Chinese market contracted by 9.7 percent in the quarter, but Apple declined at about twice that pace, research firm IDC said yesterday in a report.
Apple said it will pursue iPhone price cuts in markets that has been affected by the stronger dollar.
Apple's latest iPhone models, which are mostly priced above US$1,000, face a tough challenge from Chinese-brand devices that cost about half or a third less.
Apple Inc's fiscal first-quarter earnings reveal that the company's struggles in China and in its critical iPhone business will continue, while analysts say the tech bellwether could reduce prices to remedy the situation. A slowing economy, lengthening replacement times and the iPhone's hefty price tag contributed to the US giant's decline in China, IDC said.
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Shipments of Apple smartphones decreased 11.7 percent, while those of Huawei grew 15.5 percent.
Chief executive Tim Cook has seen China as a key part of Apple's strategy: last fiscal year the company generated nearly $52 billion in revenue from Greater China, a region that includes Hong Kong. The quarter is traditionally a peak season for smartphone sales.
Revenue from sales of Macs, Apple's wearables, home products and various accessories also sold well during the quarter. Mr Cook however emphasised the long haul, highlighting 19 per cent growth in services revenue.
In recent times, many Chinese smartphone makers are adopting a two-brand strategy to cater to different customer segments. In China, Apple reported revenue of $13.1 billion, down sharply from $17.9 billion the earlier year. "China accounts for three in 10 of all smartphones sold worldwide, and it is a market Apple simply can not ignore", Neil Mawston of Strategy Analytics told China Daily.
"The domestic smartphone market environment in 2019 doesn't look very optimistic", IDC senior analyst Wang Xi said in the report.