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China’s smartphone exports plunged by a third in March in terms of value when more foreign manufacturing plants moved out of the country.
Smartphone exports in the month fell by 31.9 percent year-on-year to US$8.48 billion (HK$66.14 billion) – the lowest in 19 months, customs data showed.
This came as more foreign companies consider shifting their supply chains out of China at a faster pace.
Exports from foreign manufacturers dropped by 16.3 percent in the first quarter from the previous year, the data showed.
Foxconn, which assembles around 70 percent of iPhones, has been diversifying production away from China to countries including India. And Bloomberg reported last week that Apple’s sales in India hit a new high of almost US$6 billion in the first quarter of the year, which also saw chief executive Tim Cook arriving in the country to open the company’s first stores there.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Commerce warned yesterday that the situation of China’s foreign trade remained complex and beset by uncertainties about global demand despite 4.8 percent growth in the overall value of imports and exports in the first quarter.
From October last year to February this year, the country’s exports were negative in US dollar terms, according to Wang Shouwen, vice minister of the Ministry of Commerce.
The government will carry out a series of measures to provide support for Chinese exporters, Wang added.
Wang said too that Beijing is willing and capable of joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership.
The CPTPP was signed by 11 countries including Australia, Canada, Chile, Japan and New Zealand in 2018.
Before that, it was known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and was seen as an important economic counterweight to China’s regional influence.
Beijing submitted an application to join the free trade agreement group in 2021.
China is in shape for joining the CPTPP after studying in depth all the terms to assess the costs and benefits, Wang said.
And China has also already conducted pilot projects in some free-trade zones with CPTPP standards and rules and will promote it in a wider area when conditions are ripe.