Shares of Samsung Electronics Co. fell nearly 3% Thursday after Apple Inc. (AAPL) - Get Report warned investors to expect lower revenue in its fiscal first quarter, but analysts said the smartphone maker's woes won't contaminate the broader smartphone market.
Apple shares tanked more than 8% in premarket trading Thursday after reducing its revenue estimate to $84 billion from a previous range of $89 billion to $93 billion and gross margin to approximately 38% from a range of 38% and 38.5%.
Apple CEO Tim Cook announced in a letter to investors Wednesday that the iPhone giant will see lower revenue and gross margins compared to previously projected numbers due to the current macroeconomic environment and some shortcomings.
Apple blamed a weakening Chinese economy, a higher dollar, supply constraints and lower-than-expected iPhone revenue "primarily in Greater China."
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But an economic slowdown in China would have limited impact on Samsung and Apple's woes would actually help rival Huawei Technologies Co.
Samsung, the world's top smartphone company by market share, is barely exposed to the Chinese market, with less than 1% of mobile phones sales coming from China, Daniel Yoo, head of global strategy and research at South Korea-based Kiwoom Securities, told CNBC.
Samsung also is one of the top makers of semiconductors. China is planning to produce its own chips in-house as part of its "Made in China 2025" plan, but an economic slowdown worsened by the trade war with the U.S. will keep its efforts subdued.
"Which means Samsung will continue to be (the) dominant player in this business for the long period of time," Yoo told CNBC.
Huawei, on the other hand, comes out a big winner.
"Local competition has been very strong and has been increasing (in China)," Professor Hans Hendrischke, an expert on Chinese business at Sydney University, told the Telegraph.
Huawei overtook Apple to become the world's largest smartphone maker after Samsung in the second quarter of 2018.
The U.S.-China trade war has soured some Chinese customers on Apple, which was made worse by the arrest of Huawei's chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, in Vancouver on Dec. 1. Canadian police arrested Wanzhou at the request of the U.S. government for suspected violation of U.S. sanctions on Iran.
Worsening relations with the U.S. has prompted some Chinese companies to call for a boycott of Apple, going so far as to offer employees subsidies to purchase Huawei phones, the Nikkei Asian Review reported last week. The Communist Party is also encouraging support for Huawei. The Communist Youth League has been urging companies to subsidize Huawei products via social media.