Chinese Foreign Ministry: No reason to keep iPhones if WeChat is banned

WeChat (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • The Chinese Foreign Ministry has said that if WeChat is banned, Chinese people will have no reason to keep their iPhones
  • Zhao Lijian made the comments at a press conference Thursday.
  • Surveys conducted in China indeed suggest that a WeChat ban on iOS would seriously impact iPhone sales.

A spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry has said that if WeChat is banned on iOS in the country, Chinese people will have no reason to keep their iPhones.

A tweet yesterday from Zhao Lijian stated:

If WeChat is banned, then there will be no reason why Chinese shall keep iPhone and apple products.

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The news follows an executive order from President Donald Trump stating that U.S. businesses and individuals will be banned from "transactions" with the app, however the order is unclear in its full scope.

Just last week, it was reported that the administration had been reaching out to companies to reassure them that business with WeChat in China would not be affected, after realising how catastrophic that could be, especially for Apple. From that report:

Reported by Bloomberg, senior administration officials have been reaching out to a number of U.S. companies, including Apple, to reassure them that they will still be able to do business with WeChat in China.In recent days, senior administration officials have been reaching out to some companies, realizing that the impact of an all-out ban on the popular app, owned by China's Tencent Holdings Ltd., could be devastating for U.S. technology, retail, gaming, telecommunications and other industries, people familiar with the discussions said.

A survey conducted on Chinese social media revealed that of more than 1.2 million people surveyed, 95% of them said they would leave Apple if WeChat was banned on iOS. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggested a WeChat ban worlwide could cause Apple's global iPhone shipments to fall by as much as 30%.

Apple and other U.S. companies will likely be hoping that recent reports regarding the ban's scope are correct, and that when the nature of "transactions" is clarified it will not preclude Apple from hosting the app on its App Store in other countries, in particular China.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9