US President, Donald Trump, had signed an executive order banning US companies from trading with parent firms of TikTok and WeChat starting September 20, 2020. Today, an executive of the Chinese government has responded to the decision taken by the Trump administration.
Lijian Zhao, a representative of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, has gone on record today, saying that there will be no reason to keep iPhone and Apple products in China if WeChat is banned. He is indirectly implementing that China will be forced to ban Apple products in the region in retaliation to the US’ decision to ban WeChat. Moreover, Chinese consumers will not prefer to use iPhones if it doesn’t come with WeChat.
If WeChat is banned, then there will be no reason why Chinese shall keep iPhone and apple products. pic.twitter.com/qkKuMNQ87f
— Lijian Zhao 赵立坚 (@zlj517) August 27, 2020
The US government says that Chinese-based apps like TikTok and WeChat are gathering data of its citizens, which could harm the country. Hence, such apps should either be banned in the US or owned by US companies for them to be operated in the region. The Chinese government, however, is firm on not selling any of its businesses.
Reportedly, the Trump administration had reached out to US companies reassuring them that the ban on WeChat would not hinder their business ties in China. That, however, won’t be the case, considering the latest announcement from Lijian Zhao.
China contributes around 10% of Apple’s sales globally. If the US bans WeChat, China might most probably ban Apple products, which means that the Cupertino-based tech giant will suffer a 10% loss in its global sales. And that would be catastrophic for the brand.
Major US companies, including Apple, Intel, Walmart, Goldman Sachs, and Disney have urged the Trump administration to end the executive order for the ban of WeChat and TikTok, claiming that such a decision would hurt their business in the Chinese region.