iPhone 8 may be Apple’s least-popular model in China – CNET

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The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus arrived last month, but Chinese buyers don’t seem too interested.

James Martin/CNET

China is one of Apple’s biggest markets, but it seems the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus aren’t doing too well there.

As the launch of Apple’s iPhone X looms, Chinese e-commerce sites are offering discounts on the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus in hopes of spurring sales, South China Morning Post reported. The cheapest 64GB iPhone 8 model, which is priced at 5,888 yuan (about $885, £670 or AU$1,155) on Apple’s official site in China, will cost 4,788 yuan (about $720, £545 or AU$940) after the discount on Suning.com, putting it at nearly 20 percent lower than Apple’s official price.

Whether the discount will spur sales remains to be seen. The iPhone has been losing its luster in China, where Apple has been overtaken by local brands such as Huawei, Oppo and Vivo. Apple is doing what it can to improve its standing in the world’s biggest phone market, including the appointment of its first managing director in China over the summer

The price cut on Chinese e-commerce platforms comes after smaller-than-expected crowds were observed at the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus launch event across China last month. However, Chinese internet users and local media have suggested it was likely because more people are taking the more convenient option of buying the phones online.

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There are others who have speculated that people are holding out for the iPhone X, which is set to launch Friday, though it will be hard to come by. Apple has high expectations for the iPhone X, and last week encouraged buyers to start queuing for the phone early. Research analysts also expect the iPhone X to bump up phone sales globally next year.

A senior analyst in China told SCMP that discounts on iPhones are unprecedented, suggesting that the iPhone 8 could be the “most poorly sold flagship iPhone model” so far in China. Recalling the iPhone 7 launch in 2016, the analyst said the models remained hard to locate in the market even a month after the phone was released, prompting buyers to compete online.

Apple did not immediately respond to CNET’s request for a comment.

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