The numbers looked brutal for Apple. An executive order signed by U.S. President Donald J. Trump will prevent U.S. companies from transacting any business with Chinese super app WeChat starting in the middle of next month. Heavily used in China, over 1 billion people rely on WeChat for browsing, sending and receiving email, shopping online, to make mobile payments, and more.
Apple iPhone sales may not take a hit in China after all based on the latest interpretation of Trump’s executive order
The reason why Trump signed the executive order is the same reason why the current administration is looking to ban TikTok in the states and destroy Huawei, ZTE, and other Chinese firms. Any tech company from China is seen as an arm of the Communist Chinese government, using their devices and components to spy on American consumers and corporations. There never has been any smoking gun that proves this and there is more to this policy than meets the eye.
It seems that only now are administration officials actually looking at the impact of the executive order on U.S. tech firms and other industries in the states. Those familiar with the deliberations inside the Trump administration warn that there are still discussions taking place about whether the White House will allow Apple and Google to list the app in their global app stores outside of the U.S. One person close to the situation said that senior administration officials are in talks about the scope of the order although whatever course of action they decide on can be overruled by the president.
Officials also point out that the goal of the executive order isn’t to instantly shutdown WeChat in the U.S. Instead, the goal is to let the app slowly die out by preventing it from being installed or updated on devices in the states. For example, travelers entering the U.S. from abroad will be able to use the app, but won’t be able to update it. That means that anyone from a foreign country who travels to the U.S. for an extended period of time will eventually end up with an obsolete version of WeChat that won’t work.
Lobbyists in the U.S. have been working hard to be heard by the administration and are trying to get them to understand the downside of the executive order. Craig Allen, president of the US-China Business Council said, “We are talking to everyone who will listen to us. WeChat is a little like electricity. You use it everywhere” in China.