Apple to hold its first e-commerce live event on Tmall

Gearing up for China’s annual 618 shopping festival, US tech giant Apple premiered its first-ever e-commerce live stream event on Tmall at 7pm on May 31, 2023. The broadcast included products such as the iPhone 14 and iWatch.

Starting at 8pm on May 31 to June 3, consumers can enjoy surprise coupons, as well as up to 12 interest-free instalments for designated products and AppleCare+ service plan discounts for iPhones. The discounts cover a variety of popular models such as Apple-branded mobile phones, tablets, and earphones.

In an effort to reignite its presence in a competitive market, Apple is actively pursuing strategies to bolster sales. The tech giant’s performance in the Greater China region experienced a slight setback, with reported revenue of 17.8 billion USD in the first quarter, showing a decline of nearly 3% compared to the previous year. Moreover, results for the second quarter of fiscal year 2023 also revealed a 3% decrease in Apple’s total net revenue from 97.278 billion USD to 94.836 billion USD.

As such, Apple’s Tmall store has slashed the price of the iPhone 14 Pro with 128-gigabyte storage to 6,499 RMB (913.83 USD) from its original price of 7,999 RMB (1,124.75 USD). Similarly, Apple’s store is presenting the same model at a slightly lower price of 6,498 RMB (913.69 USD) for a limited time.

Leveraging a platform such as Tmall in a shopping event that draws more than 500 million users is a strategic move by Apple. Already, on the first day of the Taobao Tmall 618 live broadcast pre-sale, live broadcast rooms of brands such as Estee Lauder, Xiaomi, and FILA live broadcast rooms exceeded a transaction volume of 10 million RMB (1.4 million USD).

 However, Apple is not alone when it comes to Western brands trying China’s live commerce market. Luxury labels such as Prada, Louis Vuitton and Givenchy, which are considered conservative in their marketing strategies, have also tested the waters with live-streamed shopping events in the country.  

Overall, Apple’s foray into China’s annual 618 shopping festival and its adoption of live-streamed shopping events on Tmall signify the company’s determination to reinvigorate its presence in the Chinese market. As Apple and its competitors tap into the power of e-commerce live streaming, it is clear that this emerging trend is reshaping the landscape of retail and marketing in the Chinese market.


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