American companies operating in China are concerned that the White House’s looming ban on messaging app WeChat could have a negative impact on their competitiveness and revenue, a survey showed on Wednesday.
The American Chamber in Shanghai—which claims to represent 1,400 companies— surveyed 142 members, 88% of whom expected negative impact on operations stemming from the loss of WeChat as a communication tool.
The surveyed companies said that the impact on revenue would be substantial if the order were applied to US companies and American citizens in China.
47.2% of respondents predicted they would have lower revenues, with more than 10% of respondents predicting a loss greater than 30%.
An AmCham Shanghai representative told Forbes that the names of respondents have been kept private to protect their identities.
Earlier this month, Apple and other U.S. companies including Disney, Ford, Walmart and others had reportedly raised concerns about the ban in a call with the White House, stating that it could undermine their competitiveness.
While the ambit of the ban is still unclear, prominent Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has said that forcing the removal of WeChat from Apple’s app store could see global iPhone sales decline by as much as 30%.
An unnamed respondent quoted in the survey said, “Frankly, if the US government bans WeChat, then they are no different than the (China’s) Great Firewall.” They added: “If WeChat has or is doing anything illegal in the US, then take appropriate action in that jurisdiction but do not ban American citizens from choosing to use the application.”
Earlier this month, President Trump signed an executive order that banned U.S. entities from engaging in any transaction that is related to WeChat. While announcing the crackdown against the app, the White House accused WeChat of capturing “vast swaths of information from its users,” potentially giving Chinese authorities access to personal information belonging to Americans and Chinese nationals living in the U.S. The Tencent-owned app has more than 1.2 billion users around the world and functions as a “super app” in China, used for text messaging, payments, e-commerce, social media, news and even government announcements. A survey, which was widely circulated on Chinese social media platform Weibo earlier this month, reportedly showed that 95% of Chinese iPhone owners would be willing to ditch Apple for another smartphone brand if WeChat is removed from the app store.