In a significant development just days before Apple’s highly anticipated iPhone 15 announcement, China has broadened its ban on iPhones, delivering a substantial blow to the American tech giant’s market worth.
Impact on Apple’s Market Value
The unveiling of the iPhone 15 family, scheduled for September 12, stands as the pinnacle of Apple’s annual calendar. However, the repercussions of China’s expanded restrictions have been swift and profound. China, which includes Taiwan and Hong Kong, accounted for a formidable 20% of Apple’s sales between April and June. As a consequence, Apple’s market capitalization has plummeted by a staggering $190 billion (approximately £152 billion).
The Expanded Ban
Notably, China’s augmented ban now encompasses not only iPhones but also Apple Watches and AirPods, signaling a more extensive crackdown on Apple products.
According to a report by Nikkei Asia, “China’s restrictions on the use of iPhones by central government employees are expanding to local governments and state-owned companies.” This expansion has unfolded since around August this year, marking a significant shift in policy. Previously, central ministries and agencies had limited the use of foreign-brand products in official business since approximately 2020.
The report also highlights that many individuals working in state-owned enterprises currently employ two separate smartphones – one being a Huawei device for business purposes and the other an iPhone for personal use. The fear looms that, given the ongoing US-China trade tensions, the Apple ban may eventually extend to personal users as well.
An analyst remarked, “Although many government officials already own two iPhones and Chinese-branded goods, sales will undoubtedly be impacted if the [Communist] Party’s directives are extended to private businesses and individuals.”
Global Tech Turmoil
The intensifying clampdown on Chinese technology in the West, including the US blacklisting of Huawei and Xiaomi phones, as well as the banning of TikTok on government devices, raises questions about the reciprocal actions in the ongoing US-China tech rivalry.
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