THE LEX COLUMN: Risk of Apples and eggs in one Chinese basket
New US sanctions are set to wallop technology manufacturing companies
The metaphorical dangers posed by eggs and a single wicker container are well rehearsed. But until recently a focused approach worked well for Apple suppliers in China. Now, a sense of panic is in the air as the US prepares to impose a fourth round of tariffs. This time, it is a 25% tax on 3,800 products, including $43.2bn worth of smartphones and $37.5bn of laptops. These levies could be imposed by the end of June. Global markets have sold off on concerns of a spillover effect. For now, Chinese technology manufacturing companies face the most urgent challenges. Worst affected are companies with production bases in China that rely on exports to the US. A fifth of all Apple’s suppliers are Chinese. About half of its global suppliers have some production in the country. A prime example is Hong Kong-listed Cowell e Holdings. It gets more than 80% of total revenue from Apple. Nearly all its sales are made outside China. All its parts are manufactured there. Shares have fallen sharply in...