Tencent’s WeChat said on Tuesday that iPhone maker Apple had opened a store on its social media platform, marking an expansion of the U.S. firm’s retail channels in the world’s second largest economy.
The announcement by WeChat, China’s dominant messaging app which also provides e-commerce, livestreaming and payment services, said users would be able to buy Apple products including iPhones, iPads and Macs from the store.
Apple and Tencent did not immediately respond to requests for further comment.
The move by Apple comes as Chinese consumers increasingly turn to social media platforms such as WeChat and ByteDance’s Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, to shop.
Besides its own stores and website, Apple already operates a shop on Alibaba Group’s Tmall online marketplace. Apple also tried marketing its products on a livestream in China for the first time in May with an hour-long show.
China’s smartphone sales in the first quarter fell 5% year on year, marking the lowest first-quarter sales figure for the country since 2014, according to data from Counterpoint Research.
However, during the quarter Apple recorded a 19.9% share of the Chinese smartphone market – its biggest since 2014 – as it increased sales by 6% year-on-year in a declining market, the research firm said.