Japanese Apple resellers halt Web sales, China iPhone price cut planned

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Online electronics discount stores in Japan have reportedly been asked by Apple to cease sales of iPods, Macs and other products. Also, China Unicom may cut the price of the iPhone by 1,000 yuan, or nearly $150, in an effort to boost sales.



Japanese resellers halt sale of Apple products



According to a new report from Nikkei, most online electronics stores in Japan have halted sales of iPods, iMacs and more. The companies have reportedly stopped sales at the request of Apple, which is said to be unhappy about the products being sold online at a discounted price.



One store, Yodobashi Camera Co., posted a note on its website to state it stopped selling Apple products at the request of the Cupertino, Calif., company. The retailer, which has 20 brick-and-mortar locations in Japan, said it is still selling Apple products at its stores for customers who shop in-person.



Also cited in the Nikkei report were Yamada Denki Co., Bic Camera Inc., and Kojima Co. All of their Web sites said that Apple products were sold out, not for sale, or only available in a store. However, Amazon.com's Japanese store and Joshin Denki Co. are still offering Apple products.



China Unicom may cut iPhone price



Citing an anonymous source with China Unicom, China Business News reported this week that the carrier may slash the price of the iPhone by 1,000 yuan, or nearly $150. The iPhone debuted last year with a relatively high price of 6,999 yuan.



But after a slow start, sales of the iPhone eventually began to pick up, with more than 100,000 handsets sold by December of 2009.



China Unicom has hoped that the iPhone will help to boost its fledgling 3G network, which debuted alongside Apple's smartphone late last year. This week it was reported that the carrier is also considering reduced rates for subscribers who use 3G devices to further the growth of its high-speed data network.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 16
    I'm surprised the Nikkei paper didn't do more research. There is more to the story than Apple simply being unhappy that some retailers were selling at a discount (which is very hard to do). Such a problem could have been dealt with on a company by company basis. The end of sales was rather sudden (for one shop it was within a month) and the shops have not received clear explanations. Some say that licensing was an issue. Some just scratch their heads because Apple Japan provided no explanation. At least one customer, whose reseller had received a confirmation and shipping order from AJ, had his order suddenly cancelled by Aj and had to go to another shop.



    Amazon US regularly sells Apple products for less than the Apple price (Amazon's Japan store has the exact same prices as the Apple store here), so if the reason given in the Nikkei is right, then there is disparity in how Apple works around the world.



    Also, the shop where I usually have bought my Macs, they have not once sold a machine at a price lower than I saw on the Apple Store, Japan. The only "discount" they had was the five-year warranty plan they offered for 5%, which was often 60% less than the Apple Care plan offers to cover three years. So, perhaps Apple is unhappy with the lack of sales of Apple Care. They are a consumer electronics company, aren't they?



    Apple Japan also seems to have made a few resellers less than happy with the move and the suddenness of it, to the point that if they ever choose to return to selling through resellers they will have a smaller field to choose from.
  • Reply 2 of 16
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Bergermeister View Post


    I'm surprised the Nikkei paper didn't do more research. There is more to the story than Apple simply being unhappy that some retailers were selling at a discount (which is very hard to do). Such a problem could have been dealt with on a company by company basis. The end of sales was rather sudden (for one shop it was within a month) and the shops have not received clear explanations. Some say that licensing was an issue. Some just scratch their heads because Apple Japan provided no explanation. At least one customer, whose reseller had received a confirmation and shipping order from AJ, had his order suddenly cancelled by Aj and had to go to another shop.



    Amazon US regularly sells Apple products for less than the Apple price (Amazon's Japan store has the exact same prices as the Apple store here), so if the reason given in the Nikkei is right, then there is disparity in how Apple works around the world.



    Also, the shop where I usually have bought my Macs, they have not once sold a machine at a price lower than I saw on the Apple Store, Japan. The only "discount" they had was the five-year warranty plan they offered for 5%, which was often 60% less than the Apple Care plan offers to cover three years. So, perhaps Apple is unhappy with the lack of sales of Apple Care. They are a consumer electronics company, aren't they?



    Apple Japan also seems to have made a few resellers less than happy with the move and the suddenness of it, to the point that if they ever choose to return to selling through resellers they will have a smaller field to choose from.



    I suspect that it's unlicensed retailers selling gray market goods. Typically, that is the reason Apple interferes with resellers. They don't make any effort to stop people from discounting, per se.
  • Reply 3 of 16
    This was pretty much across the board, though, covering large nationwide chains, with only a few shops still able to sell Apple stuff. If they had a problem with a few resellers, why the blanket reaction? It seems more like an over-reaction that has punished good resellers as well, not to mention hurt customers.



    After we discovered what had happened, I will admit that I will think more carefully before purchasing my future Apple products and likely extend the time period between purchases (I usually upgrade every two or three years- both laptops and desktop- but that will now become three to five).
  • Reply 4 of 16
    Just realized: it is not just the online stores that have halted sales as is suggested in the article. Major chains have stopped selling Apple products in their brick and mortar stores as well. We are talking about Apple withdrawing from thousands of outlets in Japan.



    In the city close to me, there were 10 shops that sold Macs (I've never counted the number selling iPods) that I was aware of. That number has been reduced to just 2.



    Some companies, like K's Denki, were asked to remove stock from most of their walk-in stores, but a couple (usually near Tokyo) were allowed to continue selling.
  • Reply 5 of 16
    williamgwilliamg Posts: 322member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post




    According to a new report from Nikkei, most online electronics stores in Japan have halted sales of iPods, iMacs and more. The companies have reportedly stopped sales at the request of Apple, which is said to be unhappy about the products being sold online at a discounted price.






    In the uS, Retail Price Maintenance is illegal. It is anticompetative and immoral.



    Do they allow it in Japan?
  • Reply 6 of 16
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,408member
    I have no knowledge of the situation, but it certainly sounds like Apple is trying to knock out fake Apple product sellers by going in-person in store only. Understandable, considering the knock-offs one can find online.
  • Reply 7 of 16
    mark2005mark2005 Posts: 1,158member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    But after a slow start, sales of the iPhone eventually began to pick up, with more than 100,000 handsets sold by December of 2009.



    AI could've done more with this story. iPhonasia.com long ago reported 100K sales after the first 40 days, and 300K sales after the first 60 days. Apple just reported 9x iPhone units sales in Greater China, and that's been calculated to be about 1M-1.2M units sold in China itself during Jan-Mar.



    It's more likely that the price cuts are intended to move remaining inventory even more quickly, because the next iPhone is likely arriving in less than 60 days.
  • Reply 8 of 16
    Normally, pricing decisions are at a sole discretion of a customer (reseller). US corporations are guided by US law around the world.
  • Reply 9 of 16
    All of the electronic stores listed in the article are legitimate places to buy Apple products, and I have bought Apple stuff at Yamada Denki and Yodobashi Camera on many occasions. Just this last December I ordered a Macbook pro from Yamada online and it was a legit Apple Japan product. Yes, there are probably some underhanded stuff going on at minor online stores (try bestgate.net to find some examples), but who shops there?



    I suspect that Apple is jealous of sales through these stores and maybe this is a move to punish them a bit. We are not talking huge discounts in retail price here. What these shops offer is a point system that gives a certain percentage of the retail price in store points that can be used to buy other merchandise at the same store. When I bought my Macbook from Yamada I was given 18% of the retail price in points to do with as a please and one can save up points over time. I am not going to get that from Apple.



    Crappy move Cupertino.
  • Reply 10 of 16
    mac'em xmac'em x Posts: 102member
    On the surface, this seems bad all around. I never imagined the huge, highly-visible chains like Yamada or Bic as undertaking shady practices with regard to Apple (or any) products; I wonder whether that's really part of the picture.



    Whatever the reason, this is bad for all of us buying Apple gear in Japan. The retailers typically offer a small price discount below Apple's prices, or points that equate to a nice discount, or both. As someone mentioned, some of the chains will also offer their own in-house warranty service, which can be another great benefit. If we have to now buy only from Apple, that equates to an effective price hike!



    Further, Apple stores are hardly in every town or neighborhood. Take Apple products out of the big retailers, and typical buyers will never get a chance to even see Apple gear!



    I'll hold off on calling this dumb until I know more. But it's very curious. \
  • Reply 11 of 16
    I don't get how they can justify selling an iphone in china for even $900. That's seriously expensive! What the hey?
  • Reply 12 of 16
    emulatoremulator Posts: 251member
    Apple is a good friend of MSRP. They want everyone flock their stores and pay full retail price and sales tax. I do go to stores, Apple, BB, etc. but only to check the thing in person and then buy it online.



    The only expection was an iPod Touch at FWE, when they had the 1st gen $150 rebate but failed to state that on the rebate form and honored the rebate for 2nd gen.
  • Reply 13 of 16
    WHen i bought my AluMB it was 189,000yen. I bought it online for 148,000en thats about $480 in savings a year ago.



    I just checked the online japanese sellers, and yes many have actually taken apple products off the internet, Amazon is still selling.



    kakaku.com is the website used to purchase products online, it tells you which store across the country is the cheapest, and has next day delivery.
  • Reply 14 of 16
    successsuccess Posts: 1,039member
    What does it matter? There are Apple stores in Osaka, Tokyo and on-line. I would never buy Apple products anywhere else. I wouldn't want to give my $$ to Yodobashi or Bic anyway.
  • Reply 15 of 16
    funkdisfunkdis Posts: 41member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by success View Post


    What does it matter? There are Apple stores in Osaka, Tokyo and on-line. I would never buy Apple products anywhere else. I wouldn't want to give my $$ to Yodobashi or Bic anyway.





    I'd rather the money in my pocket then apple's or any other ones pockets. The cheaper I can get a product the happier I am.
  • Reply 16 of 16
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by success View Post


    What does it matter? There are Apple stores in Osaka, Tokyo and on-line. I would never buy Apple products anywhere else. I wouldn't want to give my $$ to Yodobashi or Bic anyway.



    The machines cost the same everywhere. Support doesn't. If you buy at Bic Camera, for example, you can use the points from the purchase to provide three years of coverage, free. Apple Care will cost 200 bucks for the same coverage. That is one example, but it has often been cheaper to buy elsewhere.



    There are many people who don't live near an Apple Store; the nearest one to me is 3 hours away by train (most of it bullet train) and other means of transport that bring the trip to $200 round trip, not to mention a minimum of seven hours. So, although I enjoy and appreciate the knowledge when shopping at the AS, I can't just pop in to one whenever I want, and therefore have gone local to a shop that has very knowledgeable staff and great support (five years for 60% less than Apple Care's three). Also, as I have written elsewhere, the Call Center in Japan is a complete disaster, so I want someone between me and them, so I will never buy my computers directly from Apple until the Call Center is improved.
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