Apple’s decline in profit has all manner of spectators chirping about the firm's need to innovate, along with speculation that Apple might be a slowly dying brand. I think that's a gross exaggeration given the $10bn in profit raked in during the quarter.
However, I think the real story is the decline in phone sales in China. This will come as no surprise to anyone who has watched the Chinese technology market over recent years.
The smartphones now coming out of China are no longer budget rip-offs of Western and Korean brands. The likes of Huawei are now producing solid mid- to high-end mobiles, and Xiaomi, the one-time startup that has grown into one of China's largest smartphone brands, has arguably aped Apple’s design. Xiaomi's founder, Lei Jun, apparently idolised Steve Jobs.
But Xiaomi has also created an ecosystem and cult following around its brand; a cult in China is less a niche collection of fans and more a community millions strong.
The result is that more Chinese citizens are buying devices made by companies in their home nation, rather than going for iPhones, which had enjoyed some success in the market.
Again this should not come as a surprise. Chinese tech companies have jumped on the manufacturing infrastructure provided through firms such as Foxconn, which makes Apple's gadgets, helping them grow into manufacturing behemoths that can build high-quality devices at scale.
Another factor is China's growing digital ecosystem, which includes companies like Alibaba, initially a retail firm like Amazon, that has grown into a technology giant with streaming services, artificial intelligence tech and cloud platforms.
It's no wonder these phone companies are winning back market share in their home nation.
But it's not just smartphone companies that should be wary of the Chinese upstarts nibbling at their market share. All technology companies need to be conscious of China's blooming digital and technology industry.
The nation is awash with digital startups, some borrowing ideas from the West and scaling them to suit China's huge population and unique culture, others pushing the envelope of technology much in the same way as a Silicon Valley startup.
This is a problem. Major technology companies were able to approach China with services not available in the country, but the new wave of native digital startups can offer their own take on services such as Uber, Airbnb and Google but with an understating of Chinese society and culture. This allows them to captivate a vast market often inaccessible to outside firms owing to the pseudo-socialist regime and Great Firewall.
Google, for example, suffered problems with its political differences in China, eventually prompting the firm to leave the country, although it later returned with a subsidiary unsurprisingly called Google China.
In some ways the challenges in China faced by industries in the West and wider world are nothing new. China's capacity for manufacturing cheaply and at scale saw Western companies struggle to compete as they often charged more for the same type of goods.
Many products from US firms are made in Chinese factories, so the riposte was to offer more bespoke and higher quality goods that warranted the price difference.
Unfortunately, physical quality is moot in the digital services world. And given the proliferation of developer tools and cloud platforms, creating a well-made app at scale is easier than building a premium car for millions.
China's digital companies and the services they provide do not have to concern themselves with the old stigma that Chinese goods equals low quality. They can dominate the market in a nation of around a billion people and export their services to neighbouring countries and the West.
There is no great European or US firewall, so these companies have a chance to flip the Western companies trying to enter China and instead push into their own foreign markets, bringing competition to the doorsteps of Samsung and Apple.
And in an already competitive arena the last thing that Western technology startups and giants need is a challenge from the might of China's best innovators and minds. It’s a dangerous mix.
So what can be done? For a start the big technology players could invest in Chinese firms or even buy them altogether, thereby gaining market share and regional expertise, although this carries an element of financial and organisational risk.
Secondly, the companies could try to push deeper into China itself, disrupting local firms before they disrupt in turn. But this would be a tough proposition.
Thirdly, technology companies could forget about China and focus instead on creating innovative products and services for their own key markets, consolidating their lead locally rather than risk over-extending into other areas. But this may end up slowing growth and upsetting shareholders.
The fourth option is to merge with Chinese firms to become a truly global company and tap into the nation's digital skills, while at the same time removing a competitor.
However, the Chinese government could impose large barriers to this, potentially requiring technology firms to leave their ethics and brand values behind.
There is a fifth, and probably less palatable, way for some technology brands: play China at its own game and copy its techniques.
Take, for example, how Xiaomi involves its fans in the design of products, and sells high-quality devices at a loss to maximise the adoption of its services. It's a model that has paid dividends, but it's hard to imagine that the notoriously secretive Apple, which makes a huge profit on every device, could ever adapt.
Yet such a move could ensure that the big names remain big, rather than fade away like Nokia, BlackBerry and Ericsson.
Whatever the decision, Western, Korean and Japanese hardware and digital companies need a savvy approach to the challenge of China and its potential as a consumer base with the power to shift markets.
And all companies should keep a weather eye on the horizon lest the half-awakened dragon that is China's technology industry takes flight and leaves them in the ashes.
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