China’s widening curbs on iPhone use by government staff intensified a sell-off in global tech stocks on Friday, fanning fears that Apple (AAPL.O) and its suppliers could take a hit from rising Sino-U.S. tensions and growing competition from Huawei.
Apple shares tumbled 6.4% over the last two days, wiping $190 billion from its market capitalisation, following news that Beijing ordered some central government employees in recent weeks to stop using iPhones at work.
Adding pressure for Apple in one of its biggest markets, Huawei launched two new smartphones – a foldable, the Mate X5, and the Mate 60 Pro+, a new addition to the line that drew global attention for showcasing resilience to U.S. sanctions.
China’s Luxshare Precision Industry (002475.SZ), maker of connector cables for the iPhone and MacBook, as well as AirPods, and owner of factories capable of making iPhones, fell 2%. Its shares were also hit last week by the Huawei launch.
Some analysts feel the Huawei moves could be a first step in comeback efforts by China’s “national champion” to rival Apple.
“We believe Huawei’s activity this time was well-prepared and not sudden,” said Ivan Lam, an analyst at Counterpoint, whose outlook for the new products exceeds previous estimation.