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Apple’s reputation is tanking with patriotic Chinese consumers thanks to Trump’s trade war

Apple’s reputation is tanking with patriotic Chinese consumers thanks to Trump’s trade war

Apple tumbled in a ranking of China's top brands in 2019.

Brand consultancy Prophet surveyed 13,500 Chinese consumers its latest brand relevance index, released Wednesday, and asked which brands are the most indispensable to their lives.

The results showed that Chinese consumers are increasingly patriotic when it comes to the brands they choose to use.

In this year's ranking, Apple slipped to 24th place after being in 11th in 2018. Meanwhile, Chinese tech giant Huawei crept up the ranking from 4th to 2nd place this year.

Huawei has suffered extensively from the US-China trade war.

The firm is currently blacklisted from doing business with any US firms, its phones are locked out of the US market, and its latest flagships won't run with Google's services because Google is an American company. The US is also pressuring its allies to lock Huawei out of their 5G phone networks because of fears the firm spies on behalf of the Chinese government, a charge it denies. Huawei blasted the US government earlier this month, accusing it of "trying to disrupt Huawei's operations with every tool at its disposal."

Read more: Apple already has a China problem. Here's why it could get worse.

Apple is also likely to suffer from the trade war. Products like the iPhone, AirPods and the Apple Watch will become more expensive thanks to President Trump's tariffs on Chinese imports. The bulk of these products are manufactured in China.

'Chinese consumers interpreted what happened to Huawei as an attack'

Jay Milliken, a senior partner in Hong Kong at Prophet, told Bloomberg that Chinese consumers are becoming more "nationalistic" in their shopping habits and in the brands that they use.

"There's a lot of nationalistic buying in that category because Chinese consumers interpreted what happened to Huawei as an attack," he told Bloomberg.

The ongoing US-China trade war and Trump's ban on Huawei is encouraging these consumers to opt for alternatives to US-made products. And some experts say that this wave of nationalism will stretch way beyond the trade war.

"It's not temporary," Melissa Guzy, a managing partner at Arbor Ventures, recently told Business Insider's Troy Wolverton. "It's a long-term shift that's happening." She continued: "I think most Chinese don't believe they need the US for anything."

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