How Apple could be involved in trade war

An opinion piece appearing on two state-backed media sites out of China has called for US brands to share profits stemming from strong sales in the country, as it states Chinese organizations ‘have experienced big losses’ due to President Donald Trump’s trade war.

The article specifically calls out Apple, which has long benefited from less expensive production costs of China and reported a 19 percent increase to sales in the greater China region in its latest quarterly report, through June 30. The increase brought Apple’s sales in China to $9.6 billion.

“China is by far the most important overseas market for the US-based Apple,” Hu wrote, “leaving it exposed if Chinese people make it a target of anger and nationalist sentiment.”

The writer suggests that Apple, which relies heavily on Chinese manufacturing to ship more than 200 million iPhones every year among other electronics, should “share its development dividends with the Chinese people.” Hu claims that 1.8 percent of Apple’s Chinese revenue is diverted to contractors.

Apple and its contractors have also failed to enforce fair labor practices such as recruitment standards, minimum wage and overtime limits, though that’s another story.

‘The eye-catching success achieved in the Chinese market may provoke nationalist sentiment if US President Donald Trump’s recently adopted protectionist measures hit Chinese companies hard,’ Hu Weijia wrote in the piece.

People’s Daily figures that kicking Apple out of China would have significant negative impacts for the economy, but the current impasse between President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump isn’t going away. Company CEO Tim Cook has had personal involvement in trying to soothe the relationship, but it may be that the world’s first trillion-dollar company will be targeted soon enough.

Trump’s administration announced on Wednesday that it would considered raising levies on Chinese imports on $200 billion worth of products to up to 25 percent, to which China responded with its own proposal for tariffs at roughly the same percentages.

Trump reportedly told Apple CEO Tim Cook that iPhones would be safe from US levies. Weijia’s article was first published by the Global Times and then appeared again in People’s Daily on Tuesday.