Apple’s iPhone 5C is selling terribly in China

C. Custer
10:23 pm on Sep 26, 2013

No one wants this, apparently.

No one wants this, apparently.

I’ve been pretty bearish on the iPhone 5C’s prospects in China since it was initially announced, and it’s no secret that the phone met a cold reception in China. How cold? Caijing, citing data from Minpixel, says that Apple is selling double the number of iPhone 5Ss than it has sold 5Cs. But the most damning evidence may be that just a couple of weeks after the launch, the 5C is already being sold at steep discounts online.

On Apple’s website, the 5C costs what it always has: 4488 RMB ($735) for the 16 GB version. But online, it’s available for significantly less. This Tmall shop, for example, is offering the phone at 3988 RMB ($653). And there are Taobao shops selling the devices for as low as 3050 RMB ($500), which is actually cheaper than the phone’s price even in the US.

Although some undercutting of Apple’s official price in China is inevitable because gray market online sellers don’t have to pay the official import duties that drive Apple’s China prices up, it’s pretty unprecedented for an iPhone’s price to drop so far. At $500 apiece online, the phone is available at a discount of more than $200. Discount isn’t a word you hear much associated with Apple products, but the 5C certainly seems to be blazing new ground as the first iPhone ever that China isn’t very interested in.

(via Caijing, h/t to @niubi)

  • Big red

    LOL at the ridiculousness of the headline. What company wouldn’t be thrilled at selling year old stripped down tech at 1:2 rates of their new products?!? How is that terrible!? Or is everyone just pissed that Apple didn’t bring to market a phone that competes on price with all the Xiaomis and Meizus, so now they go and bash Apple anyway they can. The fact that Apple is selling any iPhone 5C at all is amazing!

  • bluerhinoit

    or maybe because of xiao mi local phone?

    anyway, grey market issue is very critical in every country.

  • Andy Grown

    Import Duties??? Isn’t the Iphone produced in China? Can somebody explain this to me?

  • Vincent Mah

    @Andy Grown The iPhone is assembled in China and not all the components are made in China. One of the main reason that the China version of iPhone is more expensive than, when in comparison to Hong Kong version of iPhone is that China has a hidden sales tax and Hong Kong does not.

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