Several Chinese electronics retailers, including Suning, backed by Alibaba, and JD.com, cut prices for iPhones this week after Apple attributed an unusual revenue warning to low sales of the country’s advanced phone.
The discounts, of up to US $118 for the recently launched 64GB iPhone XR, are the latest sign that Apple’s weak sales in China during the holiday season could also extend to the current quarter.
iPhone price cuts by Chinese retailers began in the middle of this week and at least six of them offered promotions this weekend, according to Reuters. Apple did not respond to requests for comments. Prices for iPhones sold through their Chinese website remain unchanged.
That kind of generalized price cuts are not uncommon near the shopping dates, like the Single Day in November, but the current cuts stand out because they affect Apple’s latest XS and XR models, launched only months ago, said Mo Jia, an analyst at Canalys, who tracks the advanced telephone industry in China.
Jia believes that Apple could have reduced the prices of the phones it sends to the distributors or that the distributors could have cut the values to move more units. “Apple may want to test the market response if it lowers prices, or Apple could be under pressure to liquidate its iPhones stock,” he said.
Apple has lagged behind local competitors, such as Huawei Technologies, which offers cheaper options in China, the world’s largest market for advanced phones in terms of volume of shipments. Last week, Apple issued its first earnings warning in nearly 12 years, citing low Chinese demand, which caused its shares to fall 10%, its biggest intraday collapse in six years.