On Weibo, China's version of Twitter, users reacted to US pressure on Huawei by rejecting Apple products after US President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday banning US telecom companies from installing foreign equipment that poses a national security threat and a separate order banning Huawei from buying US technology without government approval.
"The functions in Huawei are comparable to Apple iPhones or even better. We have such a good smartphone alternative, why are we still using Apple?" commented one user. "I feel guilty watching the trade war. Once I have money I will change my smartphone," another user wrote.
Chinese-language accounts on Twitter have reacted in a similar fashion, while being, most probably, bot accounts. "For the trade war initiated by the United States, China has long indicated its attitude: It is unwilling to fight, but it is not afraid to fight," part of one thread read.
Apple's sales in China were already down 20% in the last quarter of 2018, according to an industry report, while Huawei's smartphone sales were up nearly 25% in the same period, according to another report, cited by Buzzfeed.
"Besides regular performance upgrades in 2018 and small changes to the exterior, there has not been any major innovation that supports users to continue to change their phones at the greatly increased price. The severe macro environment in China and the assault of domestic brands' innovative products have also been reasons for Apple's continued decline," Apple's report reads.
"We did not foresee the magnitude of the economic deceleration, particularly in Greater China," Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote in a letter to investors in January.
Analysts at JP Morgan estimate that Apple would need to increase the cost of iPhones by 14 percent to make up for the tariffs, though it could also opt to absorb some of the costs, at least for now. However, the next round of sanctions that covers possible US tariffs on an additional $300 billion worth of goods would also include laptops and smartphones, referred to as "automatic data processing machines" in the government's proposal, hitting the company even harder.
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