Though Apple Inc. has slashed retail prices of its iPhones in China for a second time this year, continuing lukewarm sales could spell trouble for companies in its extensive Chinese supply chain. Slumping sales first impacted manufacturers in November, when Apple told many of its suppliers that it was cutting its orders, Caixin has learned. Some companies said Apple’s orders were slashed by 30%. “This means companies’ profitability is set to take a hit this year, as a sudden cut in orders will increase their leverage and inventory levels,” said an executive at a South China-based company. The executive couldn’t be named for this story as all Apple suppliers are bound by an agreement to keep their dealings with the company confidential. China is a key country in Apple’s supply chain. The number of Chinese suppliers surpassed the number in the U.S. and Japan for the first time in 2018, with 41 out of Apple’s 198 major suppliers worldwide being Chinese, the most of any country, according to the Nikkei Asian Review. While iPhone supply and assembly contracts are still attractive to Chinese firms, slowing sales are hurting revenue in the short term and forcing companies to diversify ...