Apple (AAPL) - Get Report is feeling the heat in its important Chinese market. If that sounds like old news, consider the fact that now this goes beyond just not having a cool $15 smartphone for more economically sensitive folks.
The tech giant saw the biggest-ever number of Chinese rivals crack the phone category priced over 4,000 yuan (US $579.9) in the first quarter, according to new data from Counterpoint Technology Market Research. While Apple continues to hold five spots on the top 10 list, with its iPhone 7 Plus being the best seller among all premium smartphones in the country, its lead is slipping.
Four Chinese-made phones -- three from Huawei Technologies and one by Vivo -- found their way onto the list. Samsung took home the fourth spot.
Up until now, Apple was thought to be losing in China because it has decided to stay aspirational with its pricing. In other words, no slinging mud with others in the cheap phone market in China. But with growing evidence that others such as Huawei want a piece of the higher-margin part of the Chinese smartphone market -- the world's largest -- Apple could see added pressure.
To be sure, that's the last thing Apple needs right now. Apple's sales from Greater China have fallen for five straight quarters, in large part due to pressure on the iPhone (Mac has done well in the country).
If Apple can't figure out how to spark sales of its most important product in China, one has to question some of the super bullish calls on the stock out there right now on Wall Street. In the meantime, good to hear that Apple CEO Tim Cook reportedly lost 30 pounds because of his Apple Watch. Being an Apple Watch owner myself, it's a great motivator in spin class.
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Retail still stinks: Although the April employment report was nicely upbeat, retail continued to struggle amid mass store closures, TheStreetreports. Retail added 6,300 jobs in the month, one of the lowest job creating sectors in the month. Retail has shed about 50,000 jobs over the past three months.
Expect more job loss in the second quarter as retailers react to disappointing first quarter earnings reports.
A giant China-made airplane just took flight: China's first large domestically made passenger aircraft has completed its maiden flight, reportsBBC. The C919 (seen below) could seat 168 passengers. It reportedly costs $50 million, less than half of a Boeing (BA) - Get Report 737 or Airbus A320.
Ferrari is having a grand old time: As TheStreet reported Thursday, the surging stock market is driving strong results at supercar maker Ferrari (RACE) - Get Report . Here is a nice chart tweeted to me on Friday -- whoever said Brexit would dent demand for Ferrari's in the U.K.? Not this guy.
In fun news you missed this week, because I sure did: Hey, I can't see everything. As part of a self-driving car trial, 40 BMW 7-Series luxury autos will soon hit the road in California without the need for drivers, reportsMotor Authority. The technology to make this happen is being powered by Intel (INTC) - Get Report . About 155 million test miles are expected to be put on the fleet so consumers feel somewhat safe driving hands free by the year 2020.
Some positive Apple news: Bottom line is that despite its many shortcomings, the Apple Watch is the benchmark smartwatch in the market. Everything else is pretty much trash (except the Samsung Gear, that thing is stellar). So new data shouldn't come as a shocker. Apple captured 16% market share of the global wearables market in the first quarter, making it the world's largest wearables player, overtaking Fitbit (FIT) - Get Report . The data is compliments of Strategy Analytics.
This article originally appeared at 07:30 ET on Real Money on May 5, our premium site for active traders. Click here to get great columns like this from Jim Cramer, Brian Sozzi, and other writers even earlier in the trading day.
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