Prices of iPhone XR and iPhone 8 slashed by up to 20 percent in China

Apple is encountering unprecedented difficulties in China as its cheaper iPhones, including the iPhone XR which was believed to primarily target the market, have failed to excite Chinese consumers.
Written by Cyrus Lee, Contributor

The prices of several iPhone models on two Chinese major e-commerce platforms have recently been slashed by up to 20 percent as Apple sales stagnate in China -- one of the company's most important overseas markets.

On JD.com, the China's second largest online sales platform, the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are priced as low as 3,999 yuan ($592) and 4,799 yuan ($710) from January 11, down 22 and 20 percent respectively compared to the prices seen on Apple's official Chinese website.

On Suning.com, another Chinese online e-commerce operator, the iPhone XR 128G model can be purchased at 5,799 yuan ($860), which is 1,200 yuan cheaper than the official price tag of 6,999 yuan after the discounts. The platform also allows consumers to trade their iPhone 7 Plus for an iPhone XR by paying 3,500 yuan. 

JD.com told Chinese media that the recent promotion was notified and authorised by Apple, while Suning.com said the lucrative discount for the iPhone XR was part of its year-end promotional activity.

The US technology giant has already asked suppliers to cut Q2 new iPhone production by about 10 percent, after it in late December asked suppliers to make fewer iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR models for the January to March quarter, Nikkei reported by citing unnamed sources.

Apple earlier this month lowered its revenue guidance for the quarter ended December 29, attributing the unprecedented weak sales to tougher than expected Chinese market conditions.

"While we anticipated some challenges in key emerging markets, we did not foresee the magnitude of the economic deceleration, particularly in Greater China," Apple's CEO Tim Cook said in a letter to investors.

Although prices of all iPhones sold through its official Chinese website remain unchanged so far, the company since last month has started offering bigger discounts for Chinese consumers if they trade their older iPhone models for new ones.

Apple's lower than expected performance in China has also affected the sale of its high-end smartphone models, the iPhone XS and XS Max, as they have all received lukewarm responses except for its most expensive model, the iPhone XS Max 512GB edition.

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