Chinese consumers are throwing their support behind Huawei, accusing the U.S. of “bullying the company,” with some on social media saying they’re looking to buy the technology giant’s products over Apple.
The U.S. has stepped up pressure on Huawei recently, putting it on a blacklist that requires American firms to get a license from the government before selling to the Chinese telecom equipment and smartphone maker. The move threatens to cut of the supply of key components to Huawei.
Alphabet’s Google also said it would suspend some business with Huaweiearlier this week. But the U.S. scaled back some of those restrictions, granting a 90-day period for American firms to continue working with Huawei, including Google.
Chinese social media users, many of whom are often very patriotic about home-grown brands, have been rallying behind Huawei. A hashtag on Twitter-like social media site Weibo, which translates as “Huawei’s chip doesn’t need to rely on U.S. supply chain,” had nearly 50 million views.
And some users are saying they’re now looking to buy Huawei products over those from Apple.
“I’ve also decided to buy a Huawei Phone, and I will change my plan from buying an Apple Watch into a Huawei product, taking action to support Huawei,” one Weibo user said in a Mandarin post that was translated by CNBC. “It had been bullied by the U.S. so poorly recently.”
“Even though my stock investment account is facing a loss continuously, I’m still preparing to switch my other phone into Huawei, to show support with action,” another user said.
One user said it’s a “fantasy” to stop Huawei. “We will stop Apple,” the netizen said.
It’s unclear how widespread the anti-Apple sentiment is in China, but one expert cautioned that online claims shouldn’t be taken too seriously.
“It is true that nationalistic sentiment is rising in light of recent events, and I won’t be surprised if Apple takes a bit of heat as a result. But many users in China still aspire for Apple’s prestige and products. We need to be careful not to overgeneralize based upon a sample of vocal users online,” said Bryan Ma, vice president of devices research at market research firm International Data Corporation.
Apple declined to comment when contacted by CNBC for this report.