Chinese online retailers slash Apple iPhone prices for second time this year

Apple’s sales from China declined 20 percent year-on-year, according to its most recent earnings report. (AFP)
Updated 06 March 2019

Chinese online retailers slash Apple iPhone prices for second time this year

  • Several electronics vendors announced discounts on iPhone devices this week
  • Mass discounts were also offered in January just before Apple reported sinking sales in China

SHANGHAI: Chinese online retailers have started discounting iPhones for the second time this year as Apple wrestles with a prolonged sales slowdown in the world’s largest smartphone market.
Several electronics vendors announced discounts on iPhone devices this week, following mass discounts in January just before Apple reported sinking sales in China.
Gadget retailer Suning.Com Co. Ltd. said it would slash the price of the iPhone XS by as much as 1,000 yuan ($148.95) from its official price. Suning had lowered the prices of other iPhone models in January along with other retailers, but those cuts excluded the iPhone XS.
Pinduoduo Inc, an e-commerce site best known for selling inexpensive goods, has also said it would sell the 64GB edition of the iPhone XS for 6,999 yuan, a drop of over 1,000 yuan from the official price.
Online retail giant JD.com Inc. said it would offer discounts on a range of Apple products including the iPhone XS and XS Max, with models of the latter device selling at discounts of up to 1,700 yuan. Like Suning, JD.com initially did not discount the iPhone XS upon its first major round of discounts in January.
Apple, JD.com and Pinduoduo did not respond to requests for comment, while Suning could not be reached.
Apple’s sales from China declined 20 percent year-on-year, according to its most recent earnings report. Slowing demand for smartphones and increased competition from local brands have chipped at its dominance in the country.
The US company has yet to change the official sticker prices of its devices that it lists on its Chinese website. Yet the company has partnered with Ant Financial, the finance arm of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, and several state-owned banks to let consumers purchase iPhones via interest-free loans.


Russia vows cooperation with OPEC to keep oil market balanced

Updated 21 November 2019

Russia vows cooperation with OPEC to keep oil market balanced

  • Moscow not aiming to be world’s No.1 crude producer, Putin tells annual investment forum

MOSCOW: President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that Russia and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) have “a common goal” of keeping the oil market balanced and predictable, and Moscow will continue cooperation under the global supply curbs deal.

OPEC meets on Dec. 5 in Vienna, followed by talks with a group of other exporters, including Russia, known as OPEC+.

“Our (common with OPEC) goal is for the market to be balanced, acceptable for producers and consumers and the most important — and I want to underline this — predictable,” Putin told a forum on Wednesday.

In October, Russia cut its oil output to 11.23 million barrels per day (bpd) from 11.25 million bpd in September but it was still higher than a 11.17-11.18 million bpd cap set for Moscow under the existing global deal. Putin told the forum that Russia’s oil production was growing slightly despite the supply curbs deal but Moscow was not aiming to be the world’s No. 1 crude producer. Currently, the US is the world’s top oil producer.

“Russia has a serious impact on the global energy market but the most impact we achieve (is) when working along with other key producers,” he said. “There was a moment not that long ago when Russia was the world’s top oil producer — this is not our goal.”

Russia plans to produce between 556 million and 560 million tons of oil this year (11.17-11.25 million bpd), Energy Minister Alexander Novak said separately on Wednesday, depending on the volume of gas condensate produced during cold months.

Russia will aim to stick to its commitments under the deal in November, Novak told reporters.

Russia includes gas condensate — a side product also known as a “light oil” produced when companies extract natural gas — into its overall oil production statistics, which some other oil producing countries do not do.

As Russia is gradually increasing liquefied natural gas production (LNG), the share of gas condensate it is producing is also growing. Gas condensate now accounts for around 6 percent of Russian oil production.

Novak told reporters that in winter, Russia traditionally produces more gas condensate as it is launching new gas fields in the freezing temperatures.

“We believe that gas condensate should not be taken into account (of overall oil production statistics), as this is an absolutely different area related to gas production and gas supplies,” he said.

Three sources told Reuters on Tuesday that Russia is unlikely to agree to deepen cuts in oil output at a meeting with fellow exporters next month, but could commit to extend existing curbs to support Saudi Arabia.

On Wednesday, Novak declined to say that Russia’s position would be at upcoming OPEC+ meeting. Reuters uses a conversion rate of 7.33 barrels per ton of oil.