Chinese e-commerce platforms including PDD Holdings’ Pinduoduo and Alibaba’s Taobao are offering deep discounts on Apple’s latest iPhone 15 series, with some selling models up to CNY 900 ($123 or roughly Rs. 10,229) below the retail price.
Analysts say the iPhone 15 has not been selling as well in China as its predecessor. Counterpoint Research said last week that iPhone 15 sales in China were down 4.5 percent versus the iPhone 14 in the first 17 days after its market launch.
Apple, Pinduoduo and Alibaba did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
In China, Apple will occasionally allow partner vendors to offer discounts to spur demand. But Chinese e-commerce platforms have also been locked in a “value for money” battle as consumers tighten their belts amid a slowing economy, with discounting a key focus of forthcoming annual Singles Day shopping festival.
Pinduoduo is offering the 128 GB version of the iPhone 15 Plus at CNY 6,098 (roughly Rs. 69,312), CNY 900 less than Apple’s retail price of CNY 6,999 (roughly Rs. 79,553), according to checks made by Reuters.
The 512 GB iPhone 15 Pro Max, which has a CNY 11,999 (roughly Rs. 1,36,385) price tag in Apple’s store, can be bought for CNY 10,698 (roughly Rs. 1,21,598) on Alibaba’s e-commerce platform Taobao.
The e-commerce platform iPhone 15 discounts were first reported by The Economic Observer weekly newspaper on Monday.
Last month, Counterpoint data showed that Apple was expected to gain a larger share of India’s smartphone sales, with the high-end iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max models accounting for more of its shipments. The company is projected to account for 7 percent of all smartphone sales in the country from July to December, up from 5 percent in the first half of 2023.
© Thomson Reuters 2023