Apple blames China weakness for rare revenue warning

News wipes more than 7 per cent from tech giant’s shares in after-market trading

 Customers visit an Apple store in Berlin, Germany, over Christmas. File photograph: Alexander Becher/EPA

Customers visit an Apple store in Berlin, Germany, over Christmas. File photograph: Alexander Becher/EPA

 

Apple issued an extremely rare revenue warning late on Wednesday, blaming economic weakness in China and disappointing iPhone upgrades in the developed world for a shortfall of as much as 10 per cent from its previous expectations.

The news wiped more than 7 per cent from the company’s shares in after-market trading.

The company employs almost 6,000 people in Cork.

Revenue for the final three months of 2018, the most important period of its fiscal year, was likely to come in at approximately $84 billion (€74 billion), it said. Two months ago, it predicted that it would report revenue of between $89-93 billion for the period.

Almost all of the disappointment could be attributed to the economic slowdown in China, the company said. It added that “more than 100 per cent” of its revenue decline from the previous year, when it reported revenues of $88.3 billion, could be attributed to China.

“While we anticipated some challenges in key emerging markets, we did not foresee the magnitude of the economic deceleration, particularly in Greater China,” Apple said.

It also pointed to weaker-than-expected demand for the iPhone in developed countries, with fewer people than expected upgrading to new handsets. It blamed this shortfall on weaker economies, a decline in subsidies offered by mobile carriers, and its own recent subsidised battery replacement offer, which had led more people to hold on to their existing phones. – Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2019