It looks like yesterday’s report that Chinese spies installed microchips in Apple hardware came with significant implications for Asian tech supply chains.
The market has since taken just $18 billion USD or so hit in value from the hardware suppliers since the story broke earlier yesterday.
According to a new report from Barron’s, Apple suppliers Taiwan Semiconductor and Largan Precision — the latter makes camera lenses for iPhones — fell by 3.5% and 7.3%, respectively. LG Display, which was recently reported to be a new supplier of iPhone screens, fell by more than 1.8%. And component suppliers TDK and Murata dropped by 4.8% and 3.9%, respectively.
Barron’s posits that these declines are in direct response to Bloomberg Businessweek‘s report about the Chinese military sneaking spy chips onto server components used across the United States. While the majority of the report focuses on malicious chips on server motherboards that were made in China for the U.S. firm Supermicro, it did not mention smartphone components.
Since the report went public, Apple, Supermicro, and Amazon — which is central to the Bloomberg report as a user of Supermicro equipment — have all strongly disputed its contents in a widespread and forceful manner that is unusual for companies of such calibre.
That being said, Bloomberg is certainly a respectable publication with well-sourced and researched articles, so the jury is still out on who is in the right.
Apple claims that it no longer uses the “infected” servers mentioned in the Bloomberg report, but in light of this uncertainty surrounding the entire issue, one can surely understand the faltering confidence in Apple’s Asian suppliers.