Apple just slashed iPhone prices in China as it continues to grapple with falling smartphone sales

  • Apple has slashed the prices of various iPhone models in China by 300 to 500 yuan (roughly $US44 to $US75).
  • Apple has grappled with falling iPhone revenue, citing economic factors in China as contributing to the reduced revenue guidance it issued for its fiscal first quarter of 2019.
  • Apple is also facing increased competition from Chinese smartphone makers like Huawei and Oppo in the region.

Apple has lowered the prices of various iPhone models in China, according to reports from the Chinese news organisation CX Live and CNBC published Monday.

The company lowered prices for all models of the iPhone X, the iPhone 8, and the iPhone 7 by 300 to 500 yuan (roughly $US44 to $US75), according to CX Live. The popular third-party online retailers Tmall and JD.com also lowered iPhone prices earlier this year, but this would mark the first time Apple has done so on its website. Apple is also offering discounts on iPads, AirPods, and Macs in China and will issue refunds to those who have purchased affected products in the country within the past 14 days, according to CNBC.

Earlier this year, Apple CEO Tim Cook pointed to the economic environment in China as a challenge that in part caused the company to lower its revenue guidance for its first fiscal quarter of 2019. In a letter published in January, Cook wrote that most of the revenue shortfall to Apple’s guidance and “over 100 per cent of our year-over-year worldwide revenue decline occurred in Greater China across iPhone, Mac, and iPad” product lines. During its January earnings report, the company said iPhone revenue declined 15% from the prior year.

Amid slowing sales, the company recently made a major push to boost its thriving services business by announcing new digital subscriptions in TV, gaming, and news. Its services division reached an all-time high of $US10.9 billion in revenue in the company’s first fiscal quarter of 2019.

Apple is discounting its most popular products in China as it faces increased competition from other smartphone makers in the region. The Chinese electronics giant Huawei emerged as the smartphone market leader in the fourth quarter of 2018 with a 28% market share, according to Counterpoint Research, while Oppo followed in second with 20% and Vivo placed in third with 19%.

Apple claimed 12% of the smartphone market in China in the fourth quarter of 2018, making it the fourth-biggest player. This represents a decrease from the same quarter the year prior, when it tied for third place with 15% of the market alongside Vivo and Xiaomi.

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