What you need to know
- The Trump administration is walking back a full ban of WeChat.
- Officials are instead looking at a partial ban for U.S. users only.
- Apple would still be able to offer the app in the Chinese App Store.
The Trump administration may be walking back its ban on WeChat.
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.
Trump had previously announced that U.S. companies would be blocked from doing business with Tencent, the company behind WeChat. Apple in particular could see a major financial impact from such a ban as a fifth of its sales come from the country. The report also notes that, if China retaliated, it could impact Apple's manufacturing, most of which reside in the country.
Craig Allen, president of the US-China Business Council, says that their group is "talking to everyone who will listen to us ... WeChat is a little like electricity. You use it everywhere." The group is lobbying on behalf of companies like General Motors and Walmart and attempting to show the administration how devasting a ban of the app would have on American companies.
According to those familiar with the matter, aides in the administration are aiming towards a partial ban of WeChat. This would theoretically prevent the download or update of WeChat in the United States but still allow companies like Apple to offer it in the Chinese App Store. Such a move, while better than an outright ban, would still cut off the ability of American and Chinese iPhone users to communicate to each other using the app unless they already had it downloaded before the ban was to go into effect.
Apple, the Treasury Department, the White House, and Tencent all either declined or did not respond to requests to comment by Bloomberg.
Joe Wituschek is a Contributor at iMore. With over ten years in the technology industry, one of them being at Apple, Joe now covers the company for the website. In addition to covering breaking news, Joe also writes editorials and reviews for a range of products. He fell in love with Apple products when he got an iPod nano for Christmas almost twenty years ago. Despite being considered a "heavy" user, he has always preferred the consumer-focused products like the MacBook Air, iPad mini, and iPhone 13 mini. He will fight to the death to keep a mini iPhone in the lineup. In his free time, Joe enjoys video games, movies, photography, running, and basically everything outdoors.
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