Shares of Apple Inc. looked poised to further their selloff Thursday amid new concerns about the company’s China business.
After the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that China had banned government officials from using iPhones for work purposes, Bloomberg News said overnight that Chinese officials could extend that ban to government-backed agencies and state companies.
Shares of Apple
The Bloomberg story noted that it was unclear how China would enforce the ban, as some entities may forbid employees from using iPhones just in work settings while others could opt to ban their usage entirely.
Apple didn’t immediately respond to a MarketWatch request for comment on the prospect of employee bans in China.
Action from Chinese officials would signal an escalation of tensions with the U.S., many of which have been playing out in the technological sphere. The U.S., for example, has moved to limit the sales of some artificial-intelligence chips to China.
Greater China accounted for about 19% of Apple’s overall revenue in its last fiscal year. Wall Street appears concerned that relations between the two companies could worsen, threatening Apple’s revenue potential in China.
At the same time, Apple faces heightened competition from a homegrown player. Huawei lost ground to Apple in the face of U.S. sanctions, but the company has a new phone with an in-house chip “that seems to perform at 5G-comparable speeds,” according to a BofA Securities analyst, who cautions that Huawei could become a more formidable foe once again.
Apple will look to control its narrative next week with the expected launch of its new iPhone 15 family of devices.