Apple finds itself in yet another controversy. The present state of relations between the United States and China has been causing plenty of disruption for Apple. The relations between the United States and China are unlikely to turn friendly anytime soon. Trump administration has communicated to Apple that they might permanently issue a ban on WeChat and Tiktok. According to a report published in The Information, this step by the Trump administration increases the chances of China reacting.
The article further suggests that the majority of App stores operating in China were initially planned to be owned by Chinese companies. However, the App Store is not owned by any Chinese company which subsequently exerts tension and pressure on Apple. There are rumors that China might permanently ban Apple App Store to retain its policy that the majority of App stores operating in China will be owned by Chinese companies
According to several anonymous sources who are well acquainted with this matter, Chinese officials have made it clear that they will not allow Apple App Store to operate within China unless Apple agrees to guarantee concessions. These concessions must allow regulators from China to be able to permit what goes onto the Apple App Store. Concessions of this nature were hesitantly acknowledged by Apple. However, Apple is still reluctant to issue these guarantees to China. Allowing the above-mentioned concessions would illustrate in guaranteeing more power to Beijing regarding the apps that can be published on the Apple App Store in China.
China might also be contemplating the potential ban on Apple App Store due to repercussions caused by President Donald Trump’s ban on WeChat. WeChat is the most widely known messaging application owned by a Chinese company. It also allows other activities such as shopping, making payments, delivering emails and browsing the web.
The significance of WeChat in China can be summed up in this quote by the analyst, Ben Thompson, “There is nothing in any other country that is comparable, particularly the Facebook properties (Facebook, Messenger, and WhatsApp) to which WeChat is commonly compared. All of those are about communication or wasting time: WeChat is that, but it is also for reading news, for hailing taxis, for paying for lunch (try and pay with cash for lunch, and you’ll look like a luddite), for accessing government resources, for business. For all intents and purposes WeChat is your phone, and to a far greater extent in China than anywhere else, your phone is everything.” When this ban was announced, it was feared that iPhone sales in China might speedily decline as retaliation by the Chinese people.
China being a prominent customer base is responsible for a large number of Apple Sales. Moreover, much of the manufacturing process, especially assembling on Apple products takes place in China. President Trump’s ban on WeChat meant that it would be removed from the Apple App store, therefore resulting in a lack of sales. Already declining Apple sales paired with strained relations between the US and Chinese governments. it is likely that China might permanently ban Apple App Store.