The trade war between U.S and China has just won a new tense chapter, so to speak.
Let's get straight to the point: Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council (financial analyst and economic adviser to the administration of Donald Trump), said that Apple technologies * may * have been stolen by the Chinese. Here is the statement for Bloomberg, reproduced by CNBC:
I don't want to assume too much here, but China may have taken Apple's technology and is now becoming very competitive. You need to have a rule of law. There are some indications from China that they are looking at this, but we still don't know that. There is no inspection; there is nothing concrete.
What does that mean? It's hard to say. John Gruber, from Daring Fireball, suspects that Kudlow believes in the hypothesis that the Chinese stole technology from Apple to copy and put all this on the market. But what exactly would have been stolen / copied? If that were the case, we would already have phones with such stolen technology and Apple itself could point to such companies and file lawsuits against them.
Interestingly, Kudlow's statement (which says nothing, just raises a possibility) came shortly after Apple sent a letter to investors alleging weaker-than-expected iPhones sales in the country (which consequently caused the company to reduce its forecast earnings for the first fiscal quarter of 2019) and losing a legal dispute against Qualcomm in which the company should stop selling some models of iPhones in the country.
Because of this slowdown in China, Apple shares that were already going through a period of devaluation beyond intense, ended up more expensive, closing the week at just US $ 148.26. This entire crisis made the company, which was once the most valuable in the world, fall to the fourth position in the ranking, worth today US $ 703.55 billion (after Microsoft, Amazon and Alphabet).
Trump on the fall in Apple shares
The President of the United States, however, tried to smooth things over at least for his side, as informed by the 9to5Mac.
In response to a question from a journalist during a press conference, Trump said that Apple's shares rose a lot during his gesture, that they were at an incredible level (perhaps not so much, due to this sharp drop in the last few weeks) and that everything will be good. Still, he pointed out that the company makes its products in China and that he has talked to Tim Cook (whom he called a "personal friend") a few times so that he "takes these factories" to the US.
Trump recalled that Apple is investing $ 350 million in the US because of the tax incentives created in its administration and that its focus in the country: ?I want these companies to return as many are doing in the USA. I want Apple to do their iPhones and all the great things they do in the US and that happens. ?
We'll see how this story will end