Apple Inc is working with fintech giant Ant Financial as well as Chinese banks to provide interest-free consumer financing as part of efforts to bolster tepid sales of its smartphones.
The Chinese version of Apple’s official website is promoting a new scheme which allows buyers to purchase iPhones via instalment payments.
Chinese consumers now can buy the iPhone XR by making monthly payments of 271 yuan, as well as the iPhone XS for monthly payments of 362 yuan.
According to the website the interest-free financing can be paid over periods of three, six, nine, 12 or 24 months for any purchases of Apple products worth 4000 yuan or more.
Apple is providing the interest-free financing scheme via Ant Financial’s consumer credit service Huabei, while its official website also offers other financing plans for purchases of 300 yuan or more courtesy of cooperative schemes with major banks including Agricultural Bank of China, China Construction Bank, China Merchants Bank and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.
Apple’s efforts to expand its consumer financing offerings via collaboration with domestic partners arrives amidst escalating trade tensions between China and US that have exacerbated pressure on smart phone sales in the Middle Kingdom.
iPhone shipments to China dropped 19.9% YoY in Q4 2018 according to data from research group IDC, as compared to a 9.7% decline in total smartphone shipments.
In the same quarter Apple’s revenue for the Greater China region saw a 27% YoY drop to USD$13 billion, with CEO Tim Cook imputing the decline to microeconomic circumstances as well as exchange rate volatility.