Explained: Why Apple Is Slashing iPhone Prices in China
The so-called 6.18 shopping festival takes place on June 18, when many of the country’s top e‑commerce players offer steep discounts on various tech products. This particular event is similar to the wildly popular Singles Day, which occurs on Nov. 11 every year.
Although these events are named after one day, they can often take place over several days or longer.
Apple sells its products through a variety of channels in China. On the highly popular Alibaba-owned e‑commerce site Tmall, Apple has an official store, and JD.com is an official reseller of Apple’s products.
On Tmall, one can purchase an iPhone 11 64GB model for 4,779 yuan ($669.59), about 13% cheaper from its original 5,499 yuan retail price. The iPhone 11 Pro begins at 7,579 yuan (usually 8,699 yuan), and the iPhone Pro Max is 8,359 yuan (9,599 yuan). The recently released budget model iPhone SE is going for 3,099 yuan (3,299 yuan).
It appears that JD.com boasts even better deals. The iPhone 11 64GB model is priced at 4,599 yuan, the iPhone 11 Pro at 6,999 yuan, and the iPhone 11 Pro Max at 7,499 yuan. In particular, buyers of the Pro Max will enjoy a savings of 21% compared to JD.com’s usual price.
Although it is common to see third-party sellers in China offer discounts on Apple products, it is quite unusual for Apple’s own official stores to promote such deals.
Will Wong, a research manager at IDC, told CNBC that Apple has participated in the 6.18 festival only once before.
“Last year, when they did it, the reception was good and they had a good result by giving discounts and promotions,” Wong said. “This year, we see it as good timing during this post-lockdown season because people are very careful (about spending) and discounts will stimulate demand.”
Despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Apple is currently witnessing solid sales momentum in China, where the tech giant had to close its stores for several weeks during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek and Arirang TV. He currently resides in Minneapolis.