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After being forced to cut prices in China, Apple still hasn't learned its lesson

Date published: 2019-09-11
Originally published: Here. Excerpt below.

Tim Cook announces the iPhone 11 at a launch event in Cupertino, Calif on Sept. 10, 2019.
Apple released a new range of iPhones on Tuesday but none of them had 5G capabilities. That, together with a hefty premium that Chinese users must pay for the latest iPhone 11 series, could hurt the U.S. technology giant's performance in China, analysts told CNBC.
The world's second-largest economy is a crucial market for Apple but it has struggled in recent times. In the second quarter, its China market share dipped to its lowest level in a year, according to Counterpoint Research. Shipments of iPhones also declined, the analysis showed.
One of the problems Apple had with the last iPhone series the XR, XS and XS Max was the premium pricing which put off some Chinese consumers. But Apple's new iPhone 11 range still has a hefty price tag in China.
Compared to the prices in the U.S., Chinese consumers have to pay a premium that's between 10.5% and 12.5% for the iPhone 11, and 18.6% to 23% more for the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max, according to an analysis by CNBC.
Compared to last year's XR the equivalent of the new iPhone 11 and the cheapest of the range, the premium was 28%. So that has come down significantly. But the premium for last year's XS and XS Max was around 26% not too much higher than the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max.
Prices slashed
In January, retailers in China cut the prices of last year's iPhone models. Months later, Apple announced its official price slash.
Analysts say that it appears Apple hasn't learned its lesson.
"Apple, after ten years of operations in China with local manufacturing, still commands a ~20% premium which is quite high for a market less developed in terms of per capita spend than U.S.," Neil Shah, research director at Counterpoint Research, told CNBC.
However, the iPhone 11 might find some love in China, given the premium is lower than the Pro and Pro Max and compared to the XR.
The price "might not matter as much for the high-end models ...

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