China hasn’t actually totally banned the iPhone – they’ve simply banned it among government employees because it is a security risk.
Apple used to take security very seriously, and they simply don’t anymore. People with iPhones are effectively using US government spying devices to do Chinese government work.
Maybe the US government can’t see everything on an iPhone. No one really knows. The long-time argument against backdoors on the iPhone is that everyone in the US government uses one, and if there was a backdoor, America’s enemies would eventually gain access to it.
We’ve seen this in various CIA leaks – that using the act of using their spying software exposes it on the open internet and then other actors can grab it and use it.
The fact that the US, in theory, can’t hack your phone without getting their phones hacked sort of undermines the theory that “the government sees everything you do no matter what.” I’ve pointed this out often.
But it simply does not make sense to use it when you don’t have any faith in it, and China is producing phones they do have faith in.
What’s more: the fact that China is doing this might mean that they’ve discovered a flaw in the iPhone.
Or, it could simply mean that they want to promote their own phones and hurt American businesses.
It was really ridiculous to declare an economic war against China. I can tell you that. They’ve got a whole lot of leverage.
Apple’s market value has fallen by nearly $200 billion after reports that China has banned government workers from using iPhones or any other foreign devices for work purposes, or bringing them into the office.
Shares in Apple fell almost 3% on Thursday and are down 6.4% over the last two days. Several major suppliers of the US tech giant have also seen their stocks plummet. Taiwan’s TSMC, the world’s biggest contract chipmaker and a major Apple supplier, has lost over 2%, while shares in ASE Technology Holding, one of the world’s largest semiconductor testing and packaging companies, slid 2%, and camera lens-maker Largan Precision saw a decline of more than 3%.
China, the largest foreign market for Apple products, could further expand its curbs on officials’ use of iPhones, according to Allen Huang, executive director of Mega International Investment Services Corp in Taipei, as cited by Reuters.
China has a lot of government employees. But this isn’t really the issue at hand here.
The issue is that China is about to begin a campaign against Apple among the population. China has more respect for personal freedoms than the US, so they wouldn’t outright ban Apple products in the way that the US has banned Chinese products. But if the Chinese government launches a big campaign against the use of Apple products, 85% of the population will go along with it.
Even while there has been a negative attitude towards the US since Biden took over and started threatening a war, Apple maintained its China market well in 2022.
That’s very much unlikely to last, with China announcing they are not secure. The brand is what is powerful – it’s one of these brands that in China is associated with “good face.” I’m not going into a whole Sino-sociology lesson right now, but basically, certain brands are an important part of the Chinese status economy. Up until recently, these were all Western (or Taiwanese) brands, but increasingly, “good face” has become associated with consumer patriotism.
There is a story in Islam about how when Muhammed announced that it was haram to drink alcohol, people who were in the midst of drinking alcohol started gagging themselves to vomit it up. You could be looking at something similar to that with the iPhone in China. If the state announces it is unpatriotic to use iPhones, most people are going to go along with it, because China is a high-trust and patriotic country.
This has already been slowly happening, as Huawei’s phones have gotten better. In 2015, nearly a third of Apple’s sales were in China, and now it’s down to a quarter.
I wrote earlier week that Huawei making these super-phones is going to take a big chunk out of Apple’s market share.
The Chinese are the people with money, who also view phones as fun status symbols and will buy $1,500 new phones when they already have a serviceable phone. Apple is really dependent on this.
It’s amazing that Apple hasn’t done anything to branch out into other tech. It’s really shocking that they have all this money, due to their inflated stock price, and aren’t going into AI in any significant way. They aren’t doing anything. Remember when they were talking about a car? And a line of luxury smart TVs?
Instead, they’ve decided “we will just sell infinity cellphones.”
Rim Cook is probably the worst Fortune 100 CEO in history. It’s amazing, the way this company has just been pissed away.
I’ve been saying it for years: it’s not something you want to hold a lot of long-term. The only real question is when to short it, because at some point, there is going to be a massive slide – bigger than 6%.
Although, quite frankly, that could be happening now. This might just be the beginning. If China does start pushing the population to stop using the phones, the current valuation of the company will be even more ridiculous than it already is, and you will start to see people panic.
Logically, that would be good for other tech stocks and for crypto. But this stuff is not always logical. It could also just cause the entire tech market to drop.