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Chinese retailers offer deep iPhone 15 discounts

People look at the new iPhone 15 Pro as Apple's new iPhone 15 officially goes on sale across China at an Apple store in Shanghai, China September 22, 2023. REUTERS/Aly Song/File Photo

Chinese e-commerce sites, including JD.com (9618. HK), PDD Holdings (PDD.O), and Alibaba’s (9988. HK) Taobao, are giving steep discounts on Apple’s (AAPL.O) newest iPhone 15, with some retailing for as little as 1,501 yuan ($205.14) less than the suggested retail price.

Analysts claim that compared to its predecessor, the iPhone 15 has not been selling as well in China. In the first 17 days following its market introduction, Counterpoint Research reported this week that sales of the iPhone 15 in China were down 4.5% from those of the iPhone 14 in that country.

Apple periodically permits its Chinese partner merchants to give discounts to increase demand. However, as customers tighten their pockets in a weakening economy, Chinese e-commerce platforms have also engaged in a “value for money” war, discounting a prominent feature of an approaching annual Singles Day shopping festival.

Unlike Apple’s official pricing of 8,999 yuan, JD.com offers the 512 GB iPhone 15 for 7,498 yuan. When questioned about the reduction, the business claimed that it was consistent with the low-price selling strategy it had started this year.

According to Reuters’ research, Pinduoduo is selling the 128 GB iPhone 15 Plus for 6,098 yuan, which is 900 yuan cheaper than Apple’s suggested retail price of 6,999 yuan.

On Alibaba’s e-commerce site Taobao, the 512 GB iPhone 15 Pro Max, which costs 11,999 yuan at Apple’s store, is available for 10,698 yuan. Requests for comment from Apple, Pinduoduo, and Alibaba were not immediately fulfilled.

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