Gene Munster: Apple’s brand ‘largely intact’ in China

In Chinese social media, few signs of trade war blowback on Cupertino.

From “Chinese Government Setting Tone of Support Towards Apple,” posted to Loup Ventures subscribers Friday:

It’s still too early to determine how the US/China trade dispute will impact Apple. That said, since the May escalation of the US/China trade and Huawei disputes, we’ve been monitoring Apple-related Chinese online media to gauge the frequency of negative comments directed at Apple. It’s important to note that the tone of Chinese online media is heavily curated by the government, which often dictates to the media what they want people to see. While our data is limited, it does give high-level insight into the government’s message to the Chinese people regarding Apple. We are surprised to find the brand appears to be largely intact, evidenced by the low-frequency of negative comments. Based on this, it seems less likely that the Chinese government will directly retaliate against Apple. We caution the Chinese government can negatively influence Apple outside of the headlines by making operations difficult (e.g. slowing down the supply chain or restricting permits).

Sample observations:

  • Weibo: None of the comments from a thread on Tim Cook were negative. The latest Apple-related post was on June 20th related to the book Tim Cook: The Genius That Took Apple to the Next Level. There we 139 likes, 834 forwards, and 263 comments. We found no comments out of the 263 related to boycotting Apple products. The commenters compare Cook to Jobs, generally, praise Cook, and discuss Cook as a businessman rather than an inventor.
  • Multiple Chinese news publishers wrote about Tim Cook’s interview with CBS where he said China has not targeted Apple despite the escalated trade war. The comments under these articles appear to be rational and neutral towards Apple.
  • Regarding Huawei and the trade war, Chinese op-ed articles think the Chinese media has been surprisingly quiet compared to the wide chatters in the US media. Our searches agree with this view.

My take: Is this the boycott we’ve read so much about?


  1. Gregg Thurman said:
    What do people really think, or know, in a dictatorship controlled media?

    The Chinese are better informed than you would think, getting news from friends and relatives living in the US, Canada and EU, outside the Xi “reality distortion field”.

    My Chinese friends don’t think much of Xi or his “government”. They are more likely to blame him for any hardships they may be experiencing due to the tariff ‘war’, than they are the US.

    June 21, 2019
  2. Turley Muller said:
    I like the the pic, PED. CAN’T WAIT for Trump to bring those high playing assembly jobs to the US. gonna apply myself. I would LOVE to assemble THREE THOUSAND iPhones a day.

    June 21, 2019

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