Apple has reduced the price of some iPhone models on Chinese e-commerce platform JD.com, shortly after cutting its sales forecast and blaming flagging revenue on trade tensions and China’s slowing economy.
The price of the iPhone 8 has dropped by about RMB 600 (around $90) with a starting price of RMB 3,999. The iPhone 8 Plus saw a steeper drop of RMB 800.
The reduced prices for the iPhone 8 models are more than $150 lower than the prices listed on Apple’s China website.
On Thursday, rumors that Apple would lower iPhone prices, including those for the latest models, began to circulate online (in Chinese). The news was later denied by electronics wholesaler Huaqiangbei. Apple customer service representatives also responded by saying they were not aware of any price reduction for wholesalers or authorized retailers.
Chinese news reports point out that this is a price strategy to boost sales in China rather than a limited time offer, as it originally appeared to be part of JD.com’s Chinese New Year sales promotions.
Apple has had a rough start to the year. Last week, the US multinational tech company announced that it would cut its quarterly sales forecast by a $5 billion, blaming its week performance on the ongoing trade tension between the US and China and on China’s weakening economy. It also reportedly cut its production plan for January to March by 10%.
Apple’s smartphone sales in China declined 8% in the third quarter of 2018 compared to the same period last year.
Analysts note that Apple’s increasing price tag for its smartphone line could have also contributed to slowing sales in China. China’s smartphone market has been cooling over the past year, and many local brands have filled the mass market with devices at a more affordable price tag.