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China falling out of love with Apple as Trump backlash grows

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The trade war is taking its toll on Apple, a new survey of Chinese consumer attitudes shows.

The company tumbled to No. 24 in an annual report on China’s top brands, falling from No. 11 a year ago. In 2017, before the trade war started, Apple was fifth in this ranking. Meanwhile, Apple’s biggest local rival, Huawei., climbed two spots and came in second, behind only Chinese payment service Alipay.

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Chinese consumers are increasingly turning to home-grown alternatives as the US-China trade war continues.Credit:Bloomberg

The shuffle in the rankings is a sign of the growing challenge American brands face in the second year of Donald Trump’s tariff showdown with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping. The survey findings show Chinese consumers growing cooler towards some American brands, especially after smartphone giant Huawei saw its Chief Financial Officer, Meng Wanzhou, arrested in Canada last year at the behest of the US government.

Trump followed with a ban on Huawei products, which helped fuel a surge of local support for the Shenzhen-based brand, according to Jay Milliken, senior partner in Hong Kong with Prophet, the San Francisco-based consultancy that conducted the survey of 13,500 Chinese consumers.

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