While the Chinese smartphone market experienced a 5% decline in sales during the first quarter of 2023, Apple’s iPhone sales demonstrated resilience, growing by 6% year-on-year during the same period.
Apple, an American multinational technology company, has expanded its retail presence in China, the world’s second-largest economy, with the launch of an official store on the popular social media platform WeChat. According to a CNBC report on July 11, the latest expansion brings Apple’s products and services directly to WeChat’s vast user base of approximately 1.2 billion people worldwide.
The social media platform, known as a “super app”, goes beyond messaging and offers diverse services within its ecosystem. With the introduction of its Mini Program feature, users can access various services without the hassle of downloading multiple apps. The iPhone maker has leveraged the platform by launching its store on WeChat’s Mini Program, enabling users to conveniently browse and purchase Apple products, including the latest iPhone 14 models, iPads, Apple Watches, and Macs.
WeChat Offers Buyers Free Shipping on Orders
According to the report, Tencent, the parent company of WeChat, said that customers using the WeChat store could enjoy various benefits, such as free shipping on orders and an option for three-hour delivery in selected cases. Additionally, users can access more Apple services, including the trade-in program, all within the social media platform.
Apple’s decision to establish an official store on WeChat is part of its ongoing efforts to strengthen its retail channels in China, one of its most significant markets. The company already operates an official store on Tmall, Alibaba’s e-commerce site, and collaborates with JD.com, a prominent online retailer in China.
To further expand its retail presence in China, the American-based technology giant ventured into live commerce in May this year, aiming to connect with consumers through interactive and real-time product showcases.
While the Chinese smartphone market experienced a 5% decline in sales during the first quarter of 2023, Apple’s iPhone sales demonstrated resilience, growing by 6% year-on-year during the same period. This solid performance in a challenging market highlights the strength of the company’s brand and consumer demand for its products in China.
The Asian country remains a crucial market for Apple, extending beyond its home turf in the United States. Counterpoint Research estimated that the iPhone 13 series dominated the top three spots in the chart of best-selling phones in China for 2022, highlighting Apple’s devices’ strong demand and popularity among Chinese consumers.
Apple Expands Retail Presence Around the World
Meanwhile, apart from China, Apple plans to expand its retail services to various regions worldwide. The technology maker said in June that it intends to open and rejuvenate its retail chain to focus on strengthening its presence in other parts of Asia and revamping established locations in the United States and Europe.
According to reports, citing people familiar with the matter, the company is currently discussing opening 15 new stores across the Asia-Pacific region and five additional locations in Europe and the Middle East. Furthermore, plans are underway to establish four new outlets in the United States and Canada. These deliberations cover the period until 2027.
In addition to the new store openings, Apple aims to revamp or relocate six stores in Asia, nine in Europe, and 13 in North America. These efforts are part of the company’s comprehensive strategy to enhance the customer experience and modernize its retail spaces. The proposed plans involve 53 new, relocated, or remodeled stores over the next four years.