iPhone sales will 'suffer' if Trump targets China, officials warn

iPhone sales will 'suffer' if Trump targets China, officials warn 0
Photo by Win McNamee, Getty Images

As the world watches to see how President-elect Donald Trump handles his newfound responsibilities, China's state-run press has readied something of a warning: Start a trade war with the country and American companies could suffer.

"China will take a tit-for-tat approach" if Trump were to declare China a currency manipulator, as he claimed he could do, the Global Times wrote in a column. "US auto and iPhone sales in China will suffer a setback, and US soybean and maize imports will be halted."

The Global Times is a subsidiary of People's Daily, a newspaper group owned by the ruling Communist Party of China.

It's unclear whether the statement was intended as a thinly veiled threat. Apple was contacted for comment but did not immediately respond.

Apple has had a tough enough time in China as it is. Despite investing heavily in the populous nation, its growth has dramatically slowed. Q2 sales in the Greater China region plummeted 33 percent year over year, dropping it from Apple's second-biggest market to third place, now behind both the US and Europe.

The company has done much to win favour with China's people and government including investing $1 billion in Didi Chuxing, the Uber of China, and earlier this year debuting smaller, cheaper iPhone SE. Despite this, it's had much trouble, including the shutting down of services and lots of legal drama.

Responding to Trump's saying he "liked" the idea of a 45 percent tariff on Chinese exports, the publication noted:

"Not long after Barack Obama took office, US trade and commerce authorities announced a 35 percent import tariff on Chinese tires. In response, China took retaliatory steps of imposing tariffs on US chicken and automotive products. Both China and the US suffered losses as a result."

Apple hasn't publicly responded to the election, but last week the company's CEO, Tim Cook, sent out a memo to staff encouraging them to unify and move forward.

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