Ap­ple’s new iPhones won’t halt sales de­clines in China

Global Times - - Biz Overview - By Wang Cong

Ap­ple Inc might have paid ex­tra at­ten­tion to Chi­nese con­sumers by launch­ing new iPhone mod­els with sev­eral func­tions that have long been pop­u­lar in China, but Chi­nese fans are unim­pressed.

Apart from the lack of sig­nif­i­cant break­throughs in ex­te­rior de­sign and tech­nol­ogy, an es­ca­lat­ing trade dis­pute be­tween China and the US has pushed costs higher for com­pa­nies such as Ap­ple, which re­lies heav­ily on a sup­ply chain run­ning through China.

All these is­sues point to the fact that the new iPhone might not be able to re­verse Ap­ple’s de­clin­ing per­for­mance in China, an­a­lysts noted.

Af­ter the Cal­i­for­nia-based tech gi­ant re­leased three new mod­els of its lu­cra­tive iPhone line, mock­ery and sar­casm tar­get­ing Ap­ple’s lack of in­no­va­tion and tech­no­log­i­cal break­throughs filled Chi­nese so­cial me­dia on Thurs­day.

“High-res­o­lu­tion, big screens, ex­tra long bat­tery life, swipe to un­lock, dual SIM cards – all these are ad­ver­tiz­ing slo­gans used by Chi­nese copy­cats 10 years ago,” Liu Dingding, a Bei­jing-based tele­com watcher, wrote on WeChat.

“Ap­ple has the ca­pa­bil­ity to in­no­vate, but in­stead it copied from the copy­cats,” he said.

“This is a launch event that lacks in­no­va­tion and high­lights,” an on­line com­men­ta­tor wrote, adding that “Ap­ple even bragged about a lit­tle ex­tra bat­tery life.”

At the launch event early Thurs­day morn­ing (Bei­jing time), Ap­ple re­leased three new iPhone mod­els – the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR. The lat­ter, ac­cord­ing to Ap­ple, boasts the most ad­vanced LCD in the in­dus­try, faster fa­cial ID, the smartest, most pow­er­ful chip in any smart­phone and a break­through in the cam­era sys­tem.

“No other phone is like an iPhone,” Ap­ple said. But Chi­nese fans saw it dif­fer­ently.

“I can’t point to any­thing that the new iPhone has that is much cheaper Chi­nese smart­phones do not,” one long-term Ap­ple fan in Bei­jing told the Global Times. “I don’t see any rea­son to up­grade from my iPhone X to a new one.”

De­spite the lack of in­no­va­tion, the new iPhones are the “most ex­pen­sive smart­phones ever,” Liu pointed out. The most ex­pen­sive ver­sion of the new mod­els could cost as much as 12,799 yuan ($1,869.48) in China.

“There is in­deed a trend: iPhones are con­stantly get­ting big­ger and more ex­pen­sive,” Wang Yan­hui, head of the Shang­hai-based Mo­bile China Al­liance, told the Global Times on Thurs­day, blam­ing ris­ing costs in the iPhone sup­ply chain in re­cent months and de­clin­ing sales.

All these fac­tors will not help Ape’s e's de­clin­ing per­for­mance in China, where iPhones are in­creas­ingly squeezed out of their long-dom­i­nant role, an­a­lysts added.

In the sec­ond quar­ter, Ap­ple had the fifth-largest mar­ket share in China, with Chi­nese brands – Huawei, Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi – grab­bing the top four spots, ac­cord­ing to mar ket con­sul­tancy Canalys on July 25.

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