Price cuts of Apple iPhones trigger heated discussion on Chinese social media
Published: Jan 16, 2024 12:24 PM
A man tries the new iPhone 11 at an Apple store in Taiyuan, North China's Shanxi Province on Friday. Photo: IC

File Photo: IC

Apple announced a price reduction of its iPhone 15 series and older iPhone models in the Chinese retail market on Monday. 

The rare move caused heated discussion on social media in China, with many netizens claiming that the era that iPhone often outclassed its competitors "has largely gone," as many Chinese local smartphone brands have shown "very good quality but lower prices."

According to Apple's website, consumers that buy seven iPhone models including iPhone 15 Pro, iPhone 15 Pro Max and iPhone 15 can enjoy a price cut of up to 500 yuan ($70.27) between January 18 and January 21, if they make payment via Alipay, WeChat Pay, Ant Group's Huabei or several major credit cards.

In addition, consumers will enjoy a price reduction of up to 800 yuan for buying MacBook Air laptop (13-inch or 15-inch models) with M2 chip, or 13-inch MacBook Air with M1 chip, the company said.

The hashtag "Apple's rare price reduction" has become a trending topic on China's Sina Weibo since Monday, generating 370 million reviews by Tuesday noon.

"I'm a fan of Apple and have been using iPhones for years, but iPhone models released over the past several years have displayed few innovations. If the trend continues, I may shift to purchase a Chinese smartphone brand," a netizen said in a Sina Weibo post on Monday.

Another netizen said that "The gap between Chinese smartphone brands and iPhones is narrowing. I'd like to buy a local smartphone at a much lower price."

It's worth noting that during the "Double Eleven (November 11)" online shopping festival last year, Apple's iPhone 15 series saw a sharp drop on China's e-commerce platforms.

Apple faces fierce competition from local competitors such as Huawei, OPPO and Xiaomi. "Apple innovation seems to be waning," Ma Jihua, a Beijing-based industry analyst, told the Global Times. Ma said that Apple has to do more to stabilize its market share in China.

Apple CEO Tim Cook visited China twice in 2023, highlighting the importance of the Chinese market to the tech giant, while acknowledging Apple's growth pressure in the market, Ma said.