Apple Launches Major Discount Campaign on iPhones in China

Apple has initiated a significant discounting campaign on its official Tmall site in China, offering discounts of up to 2,300 yuan ($318) on select iPhone models. This move aims to strengthen Apple’s position in the high-end smartphone market, where it faces increasing competition from local rivals such as Huawei and Honor.
Apple iphone 12 5G smartphone in Singapore
Apple has generated sales revenue of $16.372 billion in China during the first three months of 2024 against $17.812 billion in the same period last year. The drop in sales comes in the wake of significant decrease in the share of iPhones in China. Both IDC and Canalys reported decrease in the number of iPhones sold in China.

The discount campaign, running from May 20 to May 28, offers more substantial reductions than a similar promotion in February. While the highest discount in February was 1,150 yuan, the current campaign offers discounts up to 2,300 yuan.

The steepest discount applies to the 1TB iPhone 15 Pro Max model, with other models also seeing significant price cuts. For instance, the 128 GB version of the base iPhone 15 model is discounted by 1,400 yuan, according to Reuters’ checks on Monday.

This aggressive discounting comes in response to heightened competitive pressure after Huawei launched its new series of high-end smartphones, the Pura 70, following the Mate 60 release last August. Huawei’s strong market performance has intensified the competition in the high-end segment.

Apple’s previous discounting campaign in February appeared to help mitigate a sales slowdown in China. According to data from the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT) analyzed by Reuters, Apple’s shipments in China increased by 12 percent in March. This marked a significant improvement from the first two months of 2024, when the company experienced a 37 percent slump in sales.

Recent research from Canalys shows that the Mainland China smartphone market has finally rebounded after two years, with Q1 2024 shipments reaching 67.7 million units. Notably, Huawei regained the top spot after 13 quarters, shipping 11.7 million smartphones and capturing a 17 percent market share, driven by strong market response to its Mate and nova series.

Conversely, Apple saw the most significant decline among the top five manufacturers in China, shipping 10.0 million units — a year-on-year decrease of 25 percent.

Apple’s latest discounting campaign reflects its strategy to maintain market share and drive sales amidst fierce competition in China’s rapidly evolving smartphone market. IDC said Apple’s share in China fell to 15.6 percent from 17.8 percent.

Apple’s price promotions in China during the first quarter of 2024 were unable to mitigate the impact of the intense competition from Android players, Arthur Guo, senior research analyst in Client System Research for IDC China, said in a research report.