Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) isn't taking any chances when it comes to its ongoing recovery in China, its second-largest market. The company has taken the unusual step of offering steep discounts on its current iPhone models in the Middle Kingdom ahead of a major online shopping event -- the 6.18 Festival.

Each of the latest flagship iPhone models, including the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro, and iPhone 11 Pro Max, have all been discounted by about 15% on Apple's official store on the Alibaba Group's (NYSE:BABA) Tmall e-commerce platform. The lower-priced model, Apple's iPhone SE, is priced down about 6%. 

Six iPhones in different colors fanned out and splashed in water to show water resistance.

Image source: Apple.

The discounts offered on Apple devices are even more aggressive on Alibaba's e-commerce rival JD.com's (NASDAQ:JD) site. Various configurations and models of the Apple 11 are discounted between 20% and 28%, while the price of the SE is currently down about 7.5%. Much like Amazon.com's Prime Day sale, JD.com has sale prices that vary from day-to-day, so these discounts could conceivably change.

The 6.18 Festival is a midyear e-commerce shopping event in China, and while the name implies a single day of savings, it's actually an 18 day event leading up to the company's anniversary celebration on June 18. Many of China's online retailers have jumped on the bandwagon with their own 6.18 sales, with some offering discounts for as long four weeks.  

Apple also cut iPhone prices in early April, discounting the price by about 6% after China reduced its value-added tax. 

iPhone sales have been hit hard in recent months, but that was especially true in China. Sales of the flagship device fell about 7.5% in the fiscal second quarter as consumers reigned in spending as the result of the COVID-19 pandemic.