Apple is increasingly drawn into the trade dispute between the US and China – and has a lot to lose. On the Chinese Internet is currently running a “Boycott Apple” campaign, with the aim of trying to dissuade domestic customers from buying the products of the iPhone manufacturer. According to sources, the campaign works on social platforms like Weibo as if it were a grassroots movement – but centralized control is possible.
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“Bad conscience” due to trade war
The conflict over punitive tariffs on Chinese products being imported into the United States is far from over – the US government even outperformed at the weekend. For example, it was announced that pressure was exerted on Google to cancel Play Store and Android update licenses for the major Chinese mobile phone manufacturer Huawei. The would then only on the Android Open Source Project on fresh code and could not offer customers in Western countries Google’s App Store.
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On Weibo, a user asks why customers ever used Apple. “The features of Huawei are comparable or even better than those of the iPhone.” Another user says Huawei “cuts an apple into four pieces”. Another user writes that he has a “bad conscience” because of the trade war. “As soon as I have money, I will change my smartphone,” he writes from his iPhone.
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Enemy Apple and Donald Trump
Apple is already suffering from the general Chinese economic situation. In the fourth quarter of 2018, the group is said to have made 20 percent less sales in the Middle Kingdom. Huawei’s smartphone sales, however, went up by 25 percent. Another Weibo user wrote: “Trump does not allow companies to use Huawei, so we should not use Apple.” Also devices with components of the US Qualcomm are to be avoided.
Meanwhile, Apple is preparing to pay punitive tariffs on hardware made in China for import into the US – should US President Donald Trump put it into effect. Analysts at the bank JP Morgan estimate that there would have to be a mark-up of a good 14 percent – calculated on the iPhone XS – so that Apple can offset the potential 25-percent import tax, without the revenue decline.