Apple Inc's latest iPhones are receiving better-than-expected pre-orders in China, with analysts saying that the lower prices and more color options are boosting sales despite the US tech giant's mounting competition with local rivals.
Data from Tmall, an e-commerce platform of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, show that sales of iPhone 11 series exceeded 100 million yuan ($14 million) in a minute after the new models became available for pre-ordering at 8 pm on Friday.
One of the most popular models is the iPhone 11, whose sales performance surged 335 percent compared with that of its predecessor iPhone XR unveiled in 2018, Tmall said in a statement.
The iPhone 11 is priced from 5,499 yuan in China, about 1,000 yuan less than the iPhone XR. The premium version iPhone 11 Pro Max's price is roughly the same as its predecessor last year.
Ma Ke, a 33-year-old white-collar worker in Beijing, said the green version of iPhone 11 with 128 G storage was out of stock when she wanted to book one on the official website of Apple on Friday night.
"The green color looks quite beautiful in online photos. When I am hesitating to buy it or not, others already moved ahead to pick one. That's beyond my expectations, because many of my friends said earlier that they don't have to upgrade their devices this year," Ma said.
According to JD, another major e-commerce platform in China, the pre-order sales of iPhone 11 series surged by 480 percent year-on-year on its platform and the iPhone 11 Pro models were sold out in five minutes.
Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst at Tianfeng International Securities Group Co Ltd, said in a research note that the first-weekend sales performance of iPhone 11 beat expectations and the company adjusted the shipment forecast of the models in 2019 up to 70 to 75 million units.
Despite inability to support the 5G network, the practical pricing strategy of the iPhone 11 is a major factor that boosts the sales, Kuo said, adding that more color options, especially the green version of iPhone 11 and the midnight green version of iPhone 11 Pro, are also of greater appeal to consumers.
Hwabao Securities also said in a research note that though Apple's new models don't demonstrate strong innovation push, its more practical pricing strategy can help the company maintain its market share in China.
Apple's latest models came after its iPhone shipments went down 18.2 percent year-on-year in the second quarter of 2019, according to research firm International Data Corp.
Huawei Technologies Co, which overtook Apple as the world's second largest smartphone vendor last year, is scheduled to launch its Mate 30 series smartphones on Thursday in Germany, which will further intensify the competition with new iPhones.