Apple tumbles £160bn in two days after China bans iPhones in government
Apple shares have fallen for second consecutive day amid reports China may be cracking down on government workers using iPhones.
Alarm among investors has knocked £160billion ($200bn) off Apple’s market value with the tech giant’s shares falling about six per cent in two days.
The reported curbs coupled with a resurgent Huawei threaten to overshadow the launch of Apple’s iPhone 15.
China is Apple’s third-largest market and accounted for 18 per cent of its total revenue last year.
It is also where the majority of Apple products are manufactured by its largest supplier Foxconn.
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The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that Beijing has ordered central government officials not to bring iPhones into the office or use them for work, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday (September 6).
Bloomberg News reported the next day that the ban might also be imposed on workers at companies owned by the state as well as agencies backed by Beijing.
Apple had been tipped to seize the top spot and become the world’s biggest smartphone maker by volume, unseating Samsung.
But China’s reported curbs have called that into question with Bank of America estimating such a ban could lose Apple 5-10 million units per year.
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Apple also faces a resurgent Huawei in China with the country’s own tech giant having released new smartphone, Mate 60 Pro which is reportedly capable of 5G speeds.
US sanctions against Huawei hit hard with the company seeing its market share in China plummeting from 29 per cent in 2020 to seven percent by 2022.
But Mate 60 Pros have been flying off the shelves, according to the Financial Times.
The same publication quotes analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of TF International Securities as estimating Huawei could ship up to six million Mate 60 Pro units by the end of the year, increasing its total 2023 shipments by 65 per cent to 38 million.
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Meanwhile, Apple released a significant security update for iPhones and iPads on Thursday to patch newly discovered security vulnerabilities in the devices’ system software.
The issue was discovered by researchers at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab, which said the software flaw was being “actively exploited” to deliver commercial spyware called Pegasus developed and sold by the Israeli company NSO Group.
Pegasus is an expensive tool typically used to target dissidents, journalists and political opponents, so ordinary users likely have little to fear. But Citizen Lab still recommends all users should “immediately” update their devices.
To install the update, open Settings on your iPhone then select General followed by Software Update. You should see the iOS 16.6.1 software update there. Tap to begin the installation.
If you don’t see the update, go back to the General page, then tap About to check your iOS version number. If it’s 16.6.1, you already have the update installed. If your phone is still using 16.6 or an earlier version, repeat the above steps.
If you still don’t see an update, try restarting your phone. If that doesn’t make the update appear, double-check your internet connection and then wait a bit before trying again.
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