Apple Offers iPhone Discounts In China Amidst Stiff Competition

Apple Store, Chengdu, China. Image credit: Unsplash

Apple offers unusual iPhone discounts in China amidst lower sales, stiffer competition from Xiaomi, Huawei

Apple is offering extremely unusual discounts to its products in China, including the latest iPhones, as it faces increased competition from domestic rivals including Huawei and Xiaomi and slowing demand worldwide.

The firm is offering discounts of 500 yuan ($70, £55) off its iPhone 15 range, including the top-end iPhone 15 Pro Max, from 18 to 21 January as well as discounts on some Mac models and the iPad, according to its China website.

The discounts were billed as a Lunar New Year event ahead of the festival in mid-February.

Third-party Apple retailers in China sometimes offer discounts around holiday periods but it is rare for Apple to do so on its own retail channel.

iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max titanium design, a new Action button, camera upgrades, and A17 Pro. Image credit: Apple

Sales drop

Analysts Jeffries last week estimated that Apple sold 30 percent fewer iPhones in China in the first week of January compared to a year earlier.

The analyst firm said Apple saw a 3 percent year-on-year decline in iPhone sales in China over the course of 2023.

The firm attributed this mainly to rising competition from the likes of Xiaomi and Huawei, both of which offer competitive high-end products.

Last year Huawei launched a flagship smartphone featuring a cutting-edge processor in spite of long-running US sanctions designed to prevent it from being able to deploy such technology.

Apple Store, Beijing, China. Image credit: Unsplash
Apple Store, Beijing, China. Image credit: Unsplash

Domestic competition

The innovation in Huawei’s Mate 60 device helped it boost domestic sales and make a comeback in China after sanctions dealt a heavy blow to its overseas ambitions. Jeffries said Apple’s sales decline was partly due to the Mate 60.

In October Jeffries said the iPhone had been dethroned from its position as the smartphone market leader in China by Huawei devices.

It said at the time the trend suggested the iPhone would “lose” to Huawei in 2024.

Reports have also indicated some companies and government departments in China have been limiting staff use of Apple devices, mirroring some Western government restrictions on Chinese apps, which have been introduced on security grounds.

Flagship iPhone

Apple took investors by surprise by not raising prices for the iPhone 15 series when it launched in September.

Analyst firm Canalys expects Apple to report flat sales worldwide this year and to experience a slight decline in China.