Apple has launched an online store on China’s WeChat app, the Tencent-owned platform said on Tuesday. The Cupertino-based company has launched the store to the app via WeChat’s mini-programs — small-sized apps hosted on WeChat that feature e-commerce, financial service, and transportation offerings.
Apple will sell its products including iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, and Macs in this store. This isn’t the first time Apple has forayed a store launch on a Chinese platform; as Reuters points out, the iPhone-maker also has a store on Tencent-rival Alibaba’s Tmall ecommerce platform. Furthermore, Apple also tried selling its products through live commerce in the country in May this year.
China is one of key markets for Apple outside the U.S. The top three positions in the chart of 2022’s best-selling phones in China were dominated by the iPhone 13 series, research firm Counterpoint estimates.
Even as China’s smartphone market dipped in Q1 2023, Apple has maintained its lead as the top handset vendor in the country with a 20% market share — an improvement of 2% compared to the same period a year prior, according to a Counterpoint report.
On the manufacturing side, however, Apple has been trying to move its production out of China to diversify its sources. Last year, JP Morgan analysts said that the company aims to move 25% of its iPhone production to India and 20% of its iPad and Apple Watch production to Vietnam by 2025.