Rising trade tensions have brought calls in China to boycott Apple devices in favor of Huawei handsets, but the iPhone has an unlikely cheerleader: the CEO of Huawei admits he buys iPhones for his family.
“One can’t narrowly think love for Huawei should mean loving Huawei phones,” said CEO and founder Ren Zhengfei.
Ren was speaking on Chinese state TV when he said “iPhone has a good ecosystem and when my family are abroad, I still buy them iPhones,” according to the South China Morning Post.
Some of the Apple devices owned by his family made headlines earlier this year. When Ren’s daughter Meng Wanzhou — who’s Huawei’s CFO — was arrested in Canada last year, she was carrying an iPhone, a MacBook and an iPad.
Apple caught in the middle
Even the head of China’s largest phone maker very publicly advocating iPhone might not be enough to remedy Apple’s growing problems in that country. In the wake of the Trump Administration’s decision to blacklist Huawei, Chinese social media has lit up with calls to support Chinese companies.
“Chinese consumers’ love for Huawei can only increase because of the ban,” Kiranjeet Kaur, senior research manager at IDC Asia Pacific, told the SCMP.
Sales of iPhone in mainland China have slumped, noticeably hurting the company’s bottom line.