The Trump Administration is coming down heavily on Chinese apps. Trump has already issues executive orders against WeChat and TikTok. Now, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says Trump’s executive order casts a broader net, and it might not just be the two apps that will be banned. The WeChat ban is expected to hit Apple sales and affect US companies that do business with Tencent Holdings.
WeChat ban in the US might not have a considerable effect on iPhone sales. However, if WeChat is banned on iPhones across the world could have a catastrophic impact on Apple. Tencent believes that Trump’s executive order talks about banning WeChat in the US. However, it is seeking clarity as the Commerce Department is working on the details.
In a recent survey on Weibo, people were asked whether they will switch to Android if WeChat is banned on iPhones. 95% of the respondents responded that they would switch to an Android instead of stop using WeChat. A majority of WeChat users are from China. One of the respondents told Bloomberg that an iPhone without WeChat is an “electronic trash” while other users from China had a similar opinion about the WeChat ban. Even Apple analyst, Kuo says iPhone sales in China will be hit if WeChat is banned on iPhones in China.
The Trump administration is facing opposition from corporate America. More than a dozen companies believe that the “WeChat ban could be bad for business.” Companies like Apple, Ford Motor, Walmart Inc and Walt Disney have participated in the call with White House officials.
Those outside China might fail to understand the importance of WeChat. China has a very localized ecosystem of apps, and WeChat is a significant part of people’s online life. Typically, smartphone users in China prefer to use a single app for multiple purposes, and alternatives like Facebook and WhatsApp fail miserably when it comes to this.
In China, WeChat is not only used for communication but also for other tasks like reading newspapers, hailing taxis, contactless payments, and for accessing other resources. The issue here is that WeChat experience is pretty much similar on both iOS and Android. In other words, it doesn’t make much difference for smartphone users in China when it comes to using WeChat on Android or iOS. If WeChat is banned on iOS, then the users are most likely to switch to Android smartphones.
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