The battle for the smartphone market in China is heating up as Apple’s iPhone 15 series witnesses significant markdowns ahead of the renowned Double 11 online shopping festival. These discounts underscore the fierce competition Apple faces, particularly from the popular Huawei Technologies’ Mate 60 Pro 5G handset.
Launched with much fanfare, the iPhone 15 and its sibling, the iPhone 15 Plus, have recently been spotted with steep price reductions on China’s major e-commerce platforms. On Alibaba Group Holding’s Taobao platform, the iPhone 15 and 15 Plus are available for roughly 800 yuan (US$109) and 900 yuan less than their official listing prices. Meanwhile, on PDD Holdings’ Pinduoduo, an inspection revealed the basic 128GB iPhone 15 being marketed at 5,198 yuan, a discount of 801 yuan off its standard retail price.
While Apple is renowned for maintaining stringent control over its product pricing, neither Apple nor the aforementioned e-commerce giants have offered any comments regarding these discounts.
The backdrop for these price reductions is the forthcoming Double 11 Global Sales Festival, celebrated on November 11th annually. This event, also known as Singles’ Day, sees China’s e-commerce behemoths vying for consumers’ attention with competitive pricing, especially as the country grapples with economic challenges. As part of the build-up, Alibaba’s Taobao and Tmall Group have announced the commencement of Singles’ Day presales on October 24th evening. The anticipation surrounding this event is immense, with Alibaba projecting the participation of nearly a billion consumers.
Market analyses have pointed towards a somewhat lukewarm reception for the iPhone 15 series in China when compared to its predecessor. Data from market consultancy firm Counterpoint Research reveals that the iPhone 15’s initial 17-day sales in China trailed the iPhone 14’s numbers by 4.5%. Counterpoint analyst Mengmeng Zhang interprets this downturn as a symptom of a larger trend – a widespread dip in consumer expenditure.
Apple’s challenges in the Chinese market don’t end there. The tech giant from Cupertino, California, is grappling with the impressive might of Huawei. The latter’s recent release, the Mate 60 Pro, featuring an impressive domestic chip – despite US trade restrictions – has garnered significant attention. Analysts have noted a sharp decrease in the iPhone 15’s sales compared to the iPhone 14. Meanwhile, Huawei’s Mate 60 series has witnessed robust sales, shipping over 1.6 million units within the initial six-week sales period.
Fuelled by the success of the Mate 60 series, Huawei has revised its sales projections for the latter half of 2023, anticipating a 20% surge, which would culminate in an annual sales figure of 40 million smartphones.