SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Several Chinese electronics retailers such as Alibaba-backed Suning (002024.SZ) and JD.com (JD).O) have slashed iPhone prices this week, after Apple (AAPL.O) recently is the debt of the poor sales of the smartphone in the country for a rare revenue warning.
FILE PHOTO: the new iPhone X is sold at an Apple Store in Beijing, China November 3, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj/File Photo
The update, as steep as $118 for the recently launched 64GB iPhone XR, is the latest sign that Apple’s weak holiday sales in China may have extended into the current quarter.
The price cuts on the iPhones of the Chinese retailers started in the middle of this week, with a minimum of six offering promotions this weekend, according to checks carried out by Reuters.
Apple has not responded to requests for comment. Prices for iPhones sold through the Chinese website remained unchanged.
Such widespread price cuts are not uncommon around shopping festivals as One Day in November, but these cuts as they affect Apple’s latest XS and XR models that were released some months ago, said Mo Jia, a Canalys analyst who tracks China’s smartphone industry.
Jia believes that Apple itself would have reduced the prices of the phones from the ship to distributors or that distributors may cut rates in order to move more units.
“It is possible that Apple wants to test the market feedback as it brings to the channel prices. Or, Apple might be under pressure to clear stock of iPhones,” he said.
Apple is trailing local competitors such as Huawei Technologies Co Ltd [HWT.UL] cheaper options in China, home to the world’s largest smartphone market in terms of shipment volume.
Last week, Apple released its first sales warning in almost 12 years, citing poor demand in China, sending its shares down 10 percent, the biggest intra-day fall in six years.
Suning announced on Friday that it would begin sales of the 64GB iPhone XR for 5,699 yuan, 800 yuan ($118.46) is less than the supplied sticker price in China. It is also the sales of the 64GB version of the iPhone 8 for 3,899 yuan, a 1,200 yuan discount.
JD.com a large online seller of consumer electronics, is offering promotions on models going back to the 8-series. Dangdang, one of his rivals, has a similar campaign.
Brick-and-mortar retailer GOME Retail Holdings (0493.HK) is discounted a range of iPhone models, while a number of Apple authorized resellers on Tmall, a marketplace operated by e-commerce giant Alibaba (BABA).N), are set to offer discounts on Sunday.
Qian Chao, a district manager for Shanghai-based iPhone distributor DoubleRise Beijing Technology, said that the company’s decision to price cuts and that it had not received an official announcement from Apple.
Apple’s China woes come against the backdrop of a broader slowdown in demand for gadgets in the tech sector if the economic growth of a country decreases, exacerbated by Beijing festering trade war with the United States.
According to the government data, smartphone shipments decreased by 15.5 percent per year in the country in 2018. The domestic Chinese brands, meanwhile, have won the local consumers with a wide range of devices at competitive price points.
($1 = 6.7533 Chinese yuan)
Reporting by Josh Horwitz and Shanghai newsroom; Editing by Brenda Goh and Himani sarkar