Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes that Trump’s ban on WeChat could have ramifications for Apple in China and the move could hurt iPhone sales in the region in a big way.
Trump passed an executive order last week banning WeChat’s parent company Tencent Holdings from indulging in any trade activity with any US company in 45 days from now. To comply with Trump’s order, Apple would be forced to remove WeChat from its App Store worldwide. This might not matter much to customers in other parts of the world, but in China, WeChat is a very important app that is used for almost everything — right from messaging to online shopping to payments, and more. WeChat has evolved from a messaging platform to an OS in itself due to the sheer number of features it offers.
The ban means that Chinese iPhone users will not be able to download WeChat from the App Store from September 10th. Given just how important WeChat is in the region though, the move could lead customers to look into buying Android smartphones.
There is always a chance that the executive order is modified and a clarification is issued that the ban does not affect WeChat listing in the App Store outside of the United States. In that case, Kuo believes Apple could see a marginal 3-6% decline in iPhone sales. Since there is a 45-day time period for the ban to be effective, it is likely that all the major tech giants will try and convince the White House to issue a clarification as otherwise Apple could end up being a casualty of the ban that’s primarily targeted at Chinese companies.