Recently, the president of the United States, Donald Trump, signed an executive order that prohibits the parent company of TikTok, ByteDance, and WeChat, from any transaction with American companies. This request could mean that Apple will be forced to remove WeChat from the App Store around the world. Earlier, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo had said that removing WeChat could result in a 30% decline in iPhone sales due to its impact on Chinese audiences, and now another survey highlights a similar potential problem for Apple.
The Weibo survey garnered more than 1.2 million responses and found that 95% of Chinese iPhone users would rather switch their iPhones than stop using WeChat.
For those unaware, WeChat is incredibly popular in China, where it is considered an “OS within an OS”. The application offers a lot of functions besides messaging. WeChat is used in China for purchases, payments, as a social network, among many other things. As such, removing WeChat from the iPhone in China will be a huge blow to the Cupertino giant.
The app has over a billion users in China, and without it, Chinese users will find the iPhone almost completely useless.
At this time, it is unclear whether President Trump’s order will apply to regions outside the United States or not. The executive order he signed is extremely vague on these issues, and is likely to be toned down to force American companies to remove WeChat and TikTok from their American app stores.
WeChat has not taken any legal action against Trump’s orders. However, TikTok has said it will sue the US government for trying to ban the app in the country. How the United States government handles the ban in the future remains to be seen. Right now, things are not looking so good for any of the companies involved in this order, including American giants like Apple.