Apple said to have the most at stake if the iPhone loses China’s multi-purpose messaging, social media, and mobile payment app.
A survey on Chinese social media showed that 95 percent of Chinese iPhone owners would be willing to ditch Apple for another smartphone brand if WeChat is removed from the company’s App Store, further emphasizing concerns reportedly raised by US companies including Apple and Disney about the White House’s plan to ban the app, the Wall Street Journal reported.
In all, more than a dozen international companies participated in the call with White House officials, ahead of an executive order that goes into effect towards the end of next month.
External analysts have warned that any ban of WeChat — which is not only one of China’s most powerful apps but is central to the way many people in the country use their phone — could have considerable impact on a range of businesses.
Prominent Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, for instance, had noted that the removal of WeChat from the app store could see global iPhone sales decline by as much as 30 percent — putting the Cupertino company’s $44 billion USD China market at risk.
The WSJ says that one aim of the call was to figure out what Trump’s executive orders really mean. Both orders said that the details on which transactions are barred will be specified when the orders go into effect.
Likely referring to the same aforementioned survey, Bloomberg now reports that more than 1.2 million people have responded, with 95 percent saying they would rather give up their devices than uninstalling WeChat. From the report:
A survey on the twitter-like Weibo service asking consumers to choose between WeChat and their iPhones has drawn more than 1.2 million responses so far, with roughly 95% of participants saying they would rather give up their devices. “The ban will force a lot of Chinese users to switch from Apple to other brands because WeChat is really important for us,” said Sky Ding, who works in fintech in Hong Kong and originally hails from Xi’an. “My family in China are all used to WeChat and all our communication is on the platform.”
The White House gave the WSJ a blanket statement, claiming the administration “is committed to protecting the American people from all cyber-related threats to critical infrastructure, public health and safety, and our economic and national security.”