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Apple

iPhone 8 cheaper in China than in Hong Kong after falling demand forces retailers to offer discounts

Suning.com and JD.com offer discounts on the ‘most poorly sold flagship iPhone model in China’

PUBLISHED : Monday, 30 October, 2017, 3:30pm
UPDATED : Monday, 30 October, 2017, 11:05pm

Unlike the frenzy generated by pre-orders for the wallet-busting iPhone X on Friday, the popularity of Apple’s other new smartphone, the iPhone 8, has quickly run out of steam in mainland China just a month after its release, with major e-commerce platforms offering big discounts to encourage customer orders.

Suning.com, the e-commerce platform of China’s largest electrical appliance retailer, Suning Appliance, is offering discounts of as much as 1,100 yuan (US$165.5) on the iPhone 8 to customers, making its prices as competitive as or even cheaper than those offered in Hong Kong, where mainland visitors swarm to purchase Apple products for savings of up to 15 per cent.

Customers who pay a 100-yuan deposit on Suning.com and Suning’s official store on Tmall will be offered discounts of 900 yuan or 1,100 yuan on different iPhone 8 models, which will ship after Single’s Day on November 11.

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The cheapest iPhone 8 model, the 64-gig variant, for instance, will cost 4,788 yuan (US721) after the discount by Suning, as compared with the official price tag of 5,888 yuan in China, which is 6 per cent lower than the phone’s HK$5,988 (US$768) price tag in the Apple Store in Hong Kong.

The most expensive model, the 256-gig iPhone 8 Plus, will be reduced to 6,888 yuan (US$1,036) thanks to Suning’s offer, making it slightly cheaper than the official price tag of HK$8,188 in Hong Kong.

China’s second-largest e-commerce player, JD.com, which operates an authorised online Apple store on its platform, is also offering 500-yuan, 700-yuan and 800-yuan discounts on all iPhone 8 models that are originally priced at more than 5,000 yuan, 6,000 yuan and 7,000 yuan, respectively.

“The iPhone 8 might be the most poorly sold flagship iPhone model in China, as such huge discounts have never been seen before in the country,” said Zhao Ziming, a senior analyst at Pintu Tank in Beijing.

Zhao said a month after the iPhone 7 was launched last year, the models were still hard to find in the market and consumers had to compete for an order online, let alone any huge discounts offered by authorised retailers.

The iPhone 8, which offers few upgrades in terms of appearance over the previous version, has failed to trigger any shopping spree in China since its launch on September 22.

The Cupertino, California-based company did not provide any sales data for iPhone 8 globally or on the mainland, but some reports in China suggest Apple has shelved half of its iPhone 8 orders from suppliers in November and December due to a lacklustre response by consumers.