In a recent tweet, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian warned that major US brands like Apple and others could face a boycott from Chinese consumers if America bans WeChat.
If WeChat is banned, then there will be no reason why Chinese shall keep iPhone and apple products. pic.twitter.com/qkKuMNQ87f
— Lijian Zhao 赵立坚 (@zlj517) August 27, 2020
Zhao had earlier said that “many Chinese people are saying they may stop using iPhones if WeChat is banned in the US”, and accused the US of “systematic economic bullying of non-US companies” by targeting the Chinese app.
US President Donald Trump had made an announcement earlier this month that WeChat and another Chinese-owned app, TikTok, will be banned from mid-September citing national security concerns.
The current instance is a rare direct reference by any Chinese authorities to boycotting an American product and come as the US and China continue to spar on multiple fronts including military activity in the South China Sea, Hong Kong and blame for the coronavirus.
WeChat, known in mainland China as Weixin, has more than 1.2 billion active users. Trump’s executive order against WeChat forces the platform to end all operations in the United States and bans Americans doing business with it.
A few of the U.S.-based WeChat users had petitioned against the American President to block the executive ban order released along with one for TikTok that they say would effectively restrict their access in the U.S. to the hugely popular Chinese messaging app.
According to data provided by Counterpoint Research, Apple accounted for eight percent of China’s smartphone market in the second quarter of 2020, far behind domestic leader Huawei.