Testing time for Apple in China as trade war grinds on

By Hu Weijia Source:Global Times Published: 2019/9/2 21:48:40

Apple Inc is expected to debut its updated iPhone on September 10. Even if the California-based company offers no exciting, breakthrough design, there's no need to be overly pessimistic about its retail sales outlook in the Chinese market.

Apple has built up a large and loyal fan base in China, a key market for the sales of its iPhone. 

Amid the escalating trade war with the US, Chinese people didn't make the California-based company a target of anger or nationalist sentiment. Many iPhone users remain as loyal as ever. Apple can count on its true Chinese fans to help it revive sales in the world's second-largest economy.

Increasing brand recognition of China's Huawei has allowed it to become a formidable competitor to Apple, but the Chinese giant is having a hard time because of US President Donald Trump's tough crackdown. The company has reportedly slashed its sales expectations for this year. It is still hard for Huawei to displace Apple as a global status symbol.

The biggest concern for Apple is the US-launched trade war. A new round of punitive tariffs imposed by China and the US took effect over the weekend in the latest escalation of the trade war, reportedly affecting some Apple products like AirPods. If the increased cost of those products is transferred to consumers, Apple is likely to lose its competitiveness in the global market. 

Apple CEO Tim Cook has expressed concern to Trump that tariffs on China will hamper the company's ability to compete with South Korea's Samsung, according to media reports.

This is a testing time, and one of great uncertainty. 

With Apple's September 10 event approaching fast, the technology giant has found itself in the spotlight. Will Trump's tariffs result in a price rise in the updated iPhone or other Apple products? Will Apple win over Chinese consumers with its new products amid escalating trade tensions? Is it possible for the company to shift its production from China to the US because of Trump's tariffs? 

Everyone wants to know the answers to those questions. Apple offers the best window on the impact of the trade war.

The trade war is having a profound impact on Apple. The longer the trade war continues, the more extensive will be the company's losses. China can afford to lose Apple and develop a 5G network with its domestic champion Huawei, but can Apple afford to lose the Chinese market?  

The author is a reporter with the Global Times. bizopinion@globaltimes.com.cn


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