The Apple Boycott In China Is Getting Worse

By Evan Niu | Int’l Business Times |

Just when Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) was starting to make some progress in addressing its demand challenges in China, its second-most important market, the Trump administration’s Huawei ban has created a whole new level of risks for the Mac maker. Economic nationalism is on the rise both in the U.S. and China amid an escalating trade war that will hurt both of the two largest economies in the world. The ban, which has far-reaching and complex implications, ties into the broader trade war.

BuzzFeed News had detailed the growing Apple boycott movement earlier this month, and matters are only getting worse. A South China Morning Post report this morning is offering more perspective on the anti-Apple sentiment. Chinese consumers are feeling that they should support domestic brands instead of buying products from foreign companies.

“There is a calling from my heart that I need to show support for Chinese brands, especially in the trade war climate,” one consumer told the outlet. “It’s kind of embarrassing to pull an iPhone out of your pocket nowadays when all the company executives use Huawei,” another telecom worker said.

Huawei has already been growing rapidly in its home market, thanks to an expansive phone portfolio that addresses a wide range of price points and consumer preferences. Even the company’s premium models are selling well, while Apple continues to see iPhone volumes decline. Huawei’s global shipments soared 50% in the first quarter, a stark contrast to Apple’s 30% drop worldwide, according to IDC. The market researcher previously estimated that iPhone volumes fell 20% in China in the fourth quarter.

IDC’s Kiranjeet Kaur told the Morning Post that the Huawei ban is only going to amplify positive sentiment toward Huawei, which is increasingly becoming a source of national pride. Many Chinese consumers feel that Huawei is being unfairly targeted by the U.S. government, according to the report.

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