Apple Slashes iPhone Prices in China in Response to Intensifying Market Rivalry

In a move to stay competitive in the largest smartphone market in the world, Apple is marking down the retail prices of iPhones in China, with discounts reaching up to 500 yuan ($70). On Monday, Apple’s website for China displayed a 5% reduction on select iPhone models as part of a special promotion tied to the Lunar New Year, set to run from January 18 to January 21, ahead of the February festival.

The latest iPhone 15 series has not been as successful in China as Apple’s earlier models. Local competitors, including Huawei Technologies and Xiaomi, are offering compelling alternatives. Reports have indicated that some Chinese companies and government entities are scaling back on the use of Apple products among employees, echoing the actions taken by the U.S. government against Chinese applications based on security concerns.

A significant 30% decline in sales of iPhones was recorded in China during the first week of 2024, compared with the same period in the prior year, according to a clients’ note from Jefferies analysts. The year 2023 saw a 3% overall decrease in sales. Market analysts are preparing for a tougher competitive environment in the current year.

Historically hesitant to decrease its latest iPhone prices, Apple broke the norm with its price reductions following a surprising decision to not hike the iPhone 15 series prices at their September unveiling.

Since the start of the year, e-commerce platforms such as Pinduoduo have been offering substantial discounts on the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro, with markdowns reaching up to 16%.

Canalys’ Senior Vice President Nicole Peng views these price reductions as an anticipated strategy, stating Apple is striving to strengthen sales, particularly in China, in light of rising competition and a diminishing desire among Apple enthusiasts to upgrade their devices.

Peng noted the resurgence of Huawei as a key factor, suggesting that nationalistic sentiments could bring some Chinese consumers back to the brand.

Canalys forecasts that Apple’s global sales projections will remain stable, though a small downturn is expected in the Chinese market.

No comment has been provided by Apple in response to inquiries on this matter.