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Apple shares, Asian suppliers sink on China iPhone restrictions


Investing.com-- Shares of Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL) and its Asian suppliers fell sharply on Thursday and Friday after China reportedly barred government officials from using iPhones, with the move coming just days before the launch of a new line of phones.

Media reports said that Beijing ordered central government officials to not use iPhones for official purposes, while state-owned companies and government agencies were also considering similar moves.

The restrictions point to a potential slowdown in Apple’s iPhone sales, which are the company’s biggest revenue driver. China is also the third-biggest contributor to Apple’s revenue, as of its second-quarter earnings.

Apple is also set to launch its new range of iPhone 15 phones later this month.

Reports of the ban saw Apple’s shares tumble about 6% over the past two sessions, wiping out roughly $200 billion from the iPhone maker’s market capitalization.

Losses in Apple spilled over into its Asian suppliers, with South Korea’s SK Hynix Inc (KS:000660), which supplies memory chips to the firm, down 4.1%. Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (KS:005930), which supplies memory chips and phone displays to Apple, fell 0.9%.

Taiwan’s TSMC (TW:2330) (NYSE:TSM) fell 0.7%, while display maker Japan Display Inc (TYO:6740) slid 2.5%. In China, Luxshare Precision Industry Co Ltd (SZ:002475), which makes connector cables for a slew of Apple devices, slid 3.2%.

Hong Kong-listed supplier AAC Technologies Holdings Inc (HK:2018), which builds Airpods for Apple, was down nearly 6% this week, although the stock did not trade on Friday due to a broader trade suspension in Hong Kong.

Beijing’s restrictions on the iPhone come amid worsening relations with the U.S., and could be potentially retaliatory measures for recent restrictions on technology exports to China.

Recently, some U.S. lawmakers also called on a blanket ban on tech exports to China, citing a breach of recent trade restrictions by two companies- Huawei and Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (HK:0981).

China has been a growing point of pain for Apple over the past year, with civil unrest at a major iPhone factory having disrupted production in late-2022. The move had seen Apple attempt to shift more iPhone production to India, to limited success.

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