SAN FRANCISCO (Jan 4): Apple Inc.’s falloff in demand for iPhones in China shows the company’s flagship product is hurt by its high price and the rise of cheaper, more comparable rival devices in the world’s biggest market.

The company cited struggling iPhone sales in China when it cut its quarterly revenue forecast on Wednesday for the first time in almost two decades. Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said a number of factors contributed to the revised outlook for the holiday period, including the strength of the dollar, fewer subsidies from phone service providers and existing customers sticking with older models via cheaper battery replacements. He didn’t mention that Apple had priced its new models at stratospheric levels.

The iPhone XS Max, the current top of the iPhone range, starts at 9,599 RMB ($1,905) in China. Flagship phones from Huawei Technologies Co. and Oppo cost from 4,000 to 5,000 RMB, around half that of an iPhone. Some of Vivo’s entry level smartphones cost a quarter of the price. Even Apple’s iPhone XR, which was supposed to be a lower-cost alternative to the high-end iPhones, costs about 1,000 RMB more than a competing device.

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