Apple offers rare iPhone discount in China as demand fears rise

Technology

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The Apple flagship store in Shanghai in November 2023.
Costfoto | Nurphoto | Getty Images

Apple is offering a discounts across a range of its products in China, including the latest iPhones, its website shows, as it faces rising competition and growing fears of a lack of demand for its flagship smartphone.

Between Jan. 18 and Jan. 21, Apple is offering 500 Chinese yuan ($70) off its iPhone 15 range, including the most expensive iPhone 15 Pro Max.

There are also discounts available on certain Mac models and the iPad. The offers come ahead of the Lunar New Year in mid-February.

While third party retailers in China sometimes offer discounts on iPhones around holiday periods, it’s extremely rare for Apple to do so on its own retail channel.

In a note on Jan. 7, analysts at Jefferies estimated that Apple experienced a 30% decline in iPhone sales year on year in the first week of this month. Jefferies also said Apple saw a 3% year-on-year decline in iPhone sales in China in 2023.

That’s thanks mainly to rising competition from local players like Xiaomi and Huawei, which are offering competitive high-end products.

Last year, Huawei launched a smartphone that contained a high-end chip despite U.S. sanctions designed to stop the Chinese tech giant from getting its hands on such technology. State media hailed it as a technological breakthrough. That device has helped Huawei boost its sales and make its comeback in the smartphone market in China after its handset business was dealt a heavy blow by U.S. restrictions.

Jefferies attributes Apple’s iPhone decline last year partly to Huawei’s device.

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