Kuo: Global iPhone Shipments Could Decline Up to 30% If Apple Forced to Remove WeChat From App Store [Updated x2]

In a worst-case scenario, Apple's annual global iPhone shipments could decline by 25–30% if it is forced to remove WeChat from its App Stores around the world, according to a new research note from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo viewed by MacRumors. The removal could occur due to a recent executive order aiming to ban U.S. transactions with WeChat and its parent company Tencent.

apple wechat
Kuo lays out optimistic and pessimistic scenarios depending on whether Apple is only required to remove WeChat from the App Store in the United States or if the ban would apply to the ‌App Store‌ in all countries.

WeChat is extremely popular with Chinese mobile device users, essentially operating as its own platform on top of iOS and Android for many users, but the app is also widely used around the world and has over 1.2 billion monthly active users. Kuo argues that a worldwide ban on WeChat in the ‌App Store‌ would be devastating as a result.

Since WeChat is very critical to Chinese users, integrating communications, payments, e-Commerce, social software, news reading, and productivity functions, we believe that the move will tank ‌iPhone‌ shipments in the Chinese market. We estimate that global ‌iPhone‌ shipments will decline by 25–30%. Global shipments of other Apple hardware products, including AirPods, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac, will decline by 15–25%.

Under his optimistic scenario in which WeChat is only removed from the U.S. ‌App Store‌, Kuo predicts global ‌iPhone‌ shipments would be impacted by 3–6% with other Apple products being affected by less than 3%.

Apple does not break down its ‌iPhone‌ shipments by region, but overall, Greater China accounted for a little over 15% of Apple's total revenue during the June quarter, making it a significant part of Apple's business.

Kuo recommends that investors reduce their stock holdings of companies in Apple's supply chain such as LG Innotek and Genius Electronic Optical due to the risks of a WeChat ban. It does, however, remain to be seen what will happen as the prohibitions laid out in the executive order do not take effect until September 20. As a result, there is still time for the order to be clarified, modified, or rescinded.

Update 1: 10:36 p.m. This article originally stated that the 30% decline was in reference to Apple's total ‌iPhone‌ shipments, but the research note is not completely clear as to whether it refers to global or Chinese shipments. Given the Chinese share of Apple's overall sales, it seems more likely to be referring to Chinese shipments.

Update 2: 1:21 a.m. Kuo has informed MacRumors that the 30% decline is in reference to worldwide shipments and has issued an English version of his report that makes this clear.

Note: Due to the political or social nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Political News forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Related Roundup: iPhone 12
Buyer's Guide: iPhone 12 (Buy Now)

Top Rated Comments

Mr. Dee Avatar
16 weeks ago
All that needs to happen is for people to make the right decisions on Nov 3rd so the nightmare will be over.
Score: 44 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macbeta Avatar
16 weeks ago
Another case of the Trump overstepping his office, He thinks he's president of the world.
Score: 30 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dingclancy23 Avatar
16 weeks ago
Wechat is 100% of China. Apple could potentially lose all Chinese iPhone sales without WeChat. That 30% loss is worldwide.

Wechat is not just a messaging app. It is the de facto digital payment system. All personal transactions in China is done with WeChat. Chinese people will not be able to do business properly without WeChat.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
johannnn Avatar
16 weeks ago
I have tons of Chinese friends here in Sweden. All of them rely on WeChat, and would go to Android the second WeChat disappear.

Why would there be a worldwide ban though? Why the hell would Trump decide which I apps I can use in Sweden?
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dingclancy23 Avatar
16 weeks ago
Ha if this happens, Apple will allow jailbreaking and let third party Chinese app stores run in iOS 13.7.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
djgamble Avatar
16 weeks ago
Worth noting, WeChat isn't some 'popular' platform in China. It's pretty much a compulsory app that the government uses to track people's movements/habits and monitor their conversations.

Not having it would severely inconvenience your movements/interactions in China because a lot of public infrastructure relies on it.

So... people wouldn't be dumping Apple by choice because they 'want' WeChat. Rather, their lives would become a lot more complicated.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

m1 chip macbook air pro

Kuo: Redesigned MacBooks With Apple Silicon to Launch in Second Half of 2021

Tuesday November 24, 2020 7:53 pm PST by
Apple plans to release additional MacBook models with Apple Silicon in the second half of 2021, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, as part of the company's two-year transition away from Intel processors across its Mac lineup. In a research note today, obtained by MacRumors, Kuo said that these MacBook models will feature a new design. Kuo did not specify which models these will be, but he...
2020 apple shopping event

Apple Offering Up to $150 Gift Card With Select Products on Black Friday Through Cyber Monday

Monday November 23, 2020 2:53 am PST by
Apple has announced its annual four-day shopping event, offering customers up to a $150 Apple Store gift card with the purchase of select products between Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the United States. The gift card values in the United States are as follows: $150 for 16-inch MacBook Pro $150 for 21.5-inch iMac $50 for 13-inch MacBook Pro $50 for MacBook Air $50 for iPhone SE,...
app store christmas icon

Apple Shutting Down App Store Connect From December 23 to December 27

Monday November 23, 2020 10:14 am PST by
Apple shuts down App Store Connect for a week around the holidays each year in an effort to give App Store staff time off from work. This year, App Store Connect will be unavailable from December 23 to December 27. With App Store Connect unavailable, Apple will not accept new apps or app updates, so all pricing changes and new app submissions need to be locked in before those dates for...
Target November Deals 1

Black Friday Spotlight: Target Begins Week-Long Sale With Deals on iPhone 12, Powerbeats Pro, and More

Monday November 23, 2020 8:07 am PST by
We've been tracking early Black Friday deals in our dedicated Black Friday Roundup, and in an effort to prepare our readers for the big shopping event we're highlighting sales store-by-store in the lead-up to November 27. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Target. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running....
mac mini macbook pro macbook air

Apple M1 Hands-On Comparison: MacBook Air vs. MacBook Pro vs. Mac Mini

Monday November 23, 2020 3:40 pm PST by
Apple's M1 Macs are out in the wild now, but ahead of the holidays, you might still be trying to figure out which one to pick up, either for yourself or as a gift for someone else. We've got all three of the new Macs available, so we thought we'd give MacRumors readers a hands-on overview of each machine in our latest YouTube video. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. ...
max tech xcode benchmark m1 macbook

Video Demos Performance Differences Between 8GB and 16GB Apple M1 MacBook Pro

Monday November 23, 2020 2:54 pm PST by
All of the M1 Mac models use the same M1 chip, so the upgrade options are limited to SSD storage space and RAM. We haven't seen many comparisons that demonstrate the difference between a machine with 8GB RAM and the upgraded 16GB RAM option, but Max Tech today shared a video highlighting the performance between an 8GB MacBook Pro and a 16GB MacBook Pro. The video includes a series of...
new mac mini logicpro screen

M1 Macs Able to Run Up to Six External Displays Using DisplayLink

Tuesday November 24, 2020 6:53 am PST by
It is possible to run up to six external displays from the M1 Mac mini, and five external displays from the M1 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, with the aid of DisplayPort adapters, according to YouTuber Ruslan Tulupov. This far exceeds Apple's specified limits on external displays with the M1 Macs. Apple's host of new M1 Macs are not capable of supporting as many external displays as their...
iPads black friday 20 sale feature

Apple Black Friday 2020: Best iPad Deals

Tuesday November 24, 2020 8:51 am PST by
Although we're still a few days away from the official launch of Black Friday, we've known for a few weeks that many retailers would be kicking off discounts ahead of November 27. Because of this trend, today we're tracking discounts across Apple's lineup of iPads, including the 10.2-inch iPad and 2020 iPad Pro. More sales are likely to appear as the week progresses, and when they do we'll update ...
13 16 inch macbook pro air trio

Reliable Leaker Suggests Redesigned MacBooks in 2021 Will Include Both Apple Silicon and Intel Models

Wednesday November 25, 2020 9:15 am PST by
Reliable leaker known as "L0vetodream" has today suggested on Twitter that redesigned MacBooks coming in the second half of 2021 will include models with both Apple Silicon chips and Intel processors. The brief Tweet came in response to a MacRumors article from earlier today, which outlined a report from Ming-Chi Kuo claiming that Apple plans to release redesigned MacBook models with Apple ...
ipad pro 2020 display

Black Friday Week Kicks Off With Up to $150 Savings on 2020 iPad Pro

Sunday November 22, 2020 2:37 pm PST by
As we head into Black Friday week, we're seeing some of the best deals of the season so far, with Amazon and Best Buy today discounting the latest iPad Pro models by up to $150 at the lowest prices we've ever tracked on these models. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep ...