Skip to main content

Trump’s WeChat ban could significantly hurt iPhone sales in China

The Trump administration’s sweeping executive order on Chinese social network WeChat could potentially deal a heavy blow to Apple’s most lucrative business. According to a new research note (via MacRumors) by longtime analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple could lose more than a quarter of its iPhone sales in China (25-30%) if it’s forced to drop WeChat from the App Store.

The executive order, which President Donald Trump signed last Friday, August 7, blocks all transactions with WeChat, a social platform owned by the Chinese tech giant, Tencent. WeChat is an indispensable element of the digital lifestyle in China, as people rely on it for chatting, social updates, mobile payments, e-commerce, and a whole lot more. The app is used by nearly a billion people, and has even replaced email addresses or phone numbers in China.

Related Videos

China is Apple’s one of the key sources for revenue and accounts for about 20% of the total iPhone shipments.

“Because WeChat has become a daily necessity in China, integrating functions such as messaging, payment, e-commerce, social networking, news reading, and productivity, if this is the case, we believe that Apple’s hardware product shipments in the Chinese market will decline significantly,” Kuo claimed.

That’s not all. Since WeChat is imperative to the Chinese-Americans living in the United States for staying in touch with their folks back home, the WeChat ban could also affect iPhone sales in the country. If WeChat exits the U.S. App Store, Kuo predicts iPhone shipments could plunge by 3-6%, while other Apple products may lose less than 3% of their sales.

In addition to iPhone sales, Kuo adds that shipments for other Apple product lines such as AirPods, iPad, Apple Watch, and the Mac could decline by 15-25% in China too.

As countries such as India and the United States continue to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic, China is also the only major smartphone market on an upwards trajectory. The trend has even enabled Huawei to secure the pole position for the first time on the global smartphone charts. A 30% drop in China sales could be, therefore, devastating for Apple that is already struggling to establish a strong foothold in the second-largest smartphone market, India.

Editors' Recommendations

9 Apple products we’re expecting in 2023: iPhone 15, M2 Mac Pro, and more
An iPhone 14 sitting on a wood desk.

Apple is one of the most secretive companies in the world of big tech. Rumors of future products seem to develop years ahead of their time, and while we can all speculate as much as we want, we don’t really know what new products Apple has coming until they're announced. For existing products, though, it’s a little easier since most of those tend to be on an annual upgrade cycle, with a few exceptions.

But the rumor mill for new products, like Apple’s mixed reality headset, has been reaching peak levels of hype recently, which leads us to believe its release is imminent. We could also have the first iPhone with USB-C charging, eliminating the need for proprietary Lightning cables, and even a 15-inch MacBook Air.

Read more
You aren’t ready for this Galaxy S23 vs. iPhone 14 Pro camera test
Deep purple iPhone 14 Pro and Cream Galaxy S23 crossed over

Samsung’s Galaxy S23 is here, and it's quickly become one of the best phones you can buy in 2023. For $800, you’re getting a small but mighty phone with Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy chipset, long-lasting battery life, and a powerful triple lens camera system with a 50-megapixel main shooter.

But how does one of the best Android phones stack up against Apple’s smallest flagship, the iPhone 14 Pro? It has just as many cameras as the Galaxy S23, a powerful 48MP main camera, and costs $200 more than Samsung's handset.

Read more
6 years later, the iPhone X still does one thing better than the iPhone 14 Pro
iPhone X.

I’ve been an iPhone user since the very beginning, starting with the original iPhone. You know, the one with the 3.5-inch display that was perfect at the time, making it super easy to use a phone with one hand? As the years go by, the iPhone — and every other smartphone out there — just get bigger and bigger. We now have phones that with almost 7-inch displays, and honestly, I don’t understand how anyone can comfortably use these giant phones — especially if you have smaller hands!

With the iPhone, we’ve gone from 3.5-inch to 4-inches, then 4.7-inches to 5.8-inches, and now the standard 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch of the iPhone 14/iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Plus/iPhone 14 Pro Max, respectively. I personally use an iPhone 14 Pro as my primary device, and while I have gotten used to the 6.1-inch size over the past few years, I still think it’s too big. In fact, the last perfect size iPhone was the iPhone XS with the 5.8-inch display ... and I really wish Apple would bring it back.
5.8 inches was a perfect middle ground

Read more