United States President Trump continues to wage war on China in any way he can, with the latest instance being a ban on the ability of US companies working with WeChat’s parent company, Tencent.
That’s a huge deal for iPhone users for multiple reasons, not least the fact that WeChat is an app that’s used daily in China.
WeChat isn’t just used for chatting, either. Payments are handled via WeChat, among other things, and its removal from the App Store could be huge for Apple and its users. How huge? According to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple could see anything up to a 30% fall in global 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. We estimate that the annual iPhone shipments will be revised down by 25–30%, and the annual shipments of other Apple hardware devices, including AirPods, iPad, Apple Watch and Mac, will be revised down by 15–25%.
However, if Apple is only forced to remove WeChat from the US-based App Store, the impact would be lessened considerably. In that case, Kuo expects iPhone shipments to fall by as little as 3%. A notable fall, but not the iPhone armageddon that could be around the corner if WeChat is removed from the Chinese App Store.
Predictably, Kuo suggests investors look to move money out of companies in Apple’s supply chain on the back of his 30% number.
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