Apple's official online store in Alibaba's Tmall has released details of its promotion for the upcoming Double 11 shopping festival with discounts and more payment choices. Experts said it's a move to compete with domestic brands and boost sales in China amid its flat market share.
According to Apple's Tmall flagship store, many iPhone series on the shelves is eligible for discounts and could be purchased in 24 installments interest-free. Certain iPhone series could enjoy a maximum discount of 500 yuan ($71), including its latest iPhone 11 Pro.
Equivalent daily costs for customers for each product are also posted on its Tmall store, which some internet users saw as an intuitive promotion method. For instance, the iPhone 11 with storage of 64G will only cost 7.64 yuan per day and its iPhone 11 Pro Max of 64G costs 13.33 yuan per day.
Other sales channels of Apple in China including JD.com have also announced promotions. For instance, its limited amount of iPhone XS series 64G priced at 7,099 yuan could enjoy a 1,500 yuan discount with coupons.
The Double 11 shopping festival is a great opportunity for every business sector to grab market share with rounds of discounts. Apple can't avoid doing so as well, or it may lose market share, Ma Jihua, a veteran industry analyst, told the Global Times.
But since the latest iPhone series was unveiled less than two months ago, Chinese internet users on Weibo expressed surprise that its first price cuts came so quickly. Others commented that with this new preferential policy, Apple is going all-out to compete with Huawei.
"The discounts for the iPhone don't attract me since the new 4G iPhone series doesn't have a lightspot," Li Ying, a Beijing-based customer, told the Global Times, adding that she would wait to see if the upcoming 5G commercial packages launched by telecom carriers are attractive.
"I will buy a 5G smartphone then," she said.
According to market research firm Canalys, Apple had a 5.2-percent market share in the third quarter in the Chinese mainland, with shipments of 5.1 million smartphones, down 28 percent year-on-year. Meanwhile, Huawei delivered 41.5 million handsets, accounting for 42.4 percent of the market -- a surge of 66 percent year-on-year - ranking first in the market.
Apple ranked fifth on the shipment list in the mainland, thanks to its timely release of the new iPhone 11 series, which accounted for nearly 40 percent of its overall deliveries in the third quarter, read a statement of Canalys on Wednesday.
Apple has been facing a challenging sales performance in the Chinese market, and domestic brands, by contrast, have been growing rapidly. Vivo and OPPO both held market shares exceeding 15 percent in the third quarter, according to Canalys.
China is set to step into 5G commercial era as three domestic telecom carriers will launch 5G commercial packages on Friday. With Chinese smartphone vendors including Huawei, Vivo and Xiaomi releasing 5G smartphones, a comprehensive 5G market is shaping up in China.
Launching sales promotions is also a way for Apple to ease competition from domestic 5G smartphone producers in the short term, Ma said. If Apple doesn't release its own 5G handsets, its future in China will be very shaky since the upgrading of telecom-related products has been much faster here than in other countries.
Media reports said Apple may release three types of 5G smartphones in 2020, and it expects to deliver at least 80 million units.