Apple isn't the only casualty of China's slowdown

SYDNEY • Apple has become the latest and biggest corporate casualty of the pullback of the Chinese consumer.

The smartphone maker, which pinned its reduced revenue outlook on a slowdown in the country, joins a growing list of companies struggling as a trade war with the United States and an equity sell-off weigh on the world's second-largest economy.

Here are other prominent companies finding it harder to sell everything from cars to takeaway coffee in China.


The US delivery giant slashed its profit forecast in late December - just three months after raising it. While FedEx Corp's woes were not limited to China, the company cited trade tensions, especially between the US and China, among its troubles. FedEx chief executive officer Fred Smith said most of the problems he faced were due to "bad political choices".


The coffee behemoth opens a new store in China every few hours, and expects it to become the company's largest market. But last month, Starbucks Corp said sales growth in China could be as low as 1 per cent in the long term. That is slower than the 3 per cent to 4 per cent growth seen for the US and the rest of the world.

It is not clear how much China's economy or trade tensions are to blame - or if China is just losing its taste for caffeine.


China's economic woes are more of a headache for the jeweller outside the country than inside.

Last November, Tiffany & Co reported weaker-than-expected sales and highlighted a clear pattern of Chinese shoppers cutting back on spending when they are overseas. It was a trend first highlighted by Louis Vuitton owner LVMH in October as Chinese officials cracked down on travellers returning home with undeclared goods in a bid to encourage local consumption instead.


The German maker of Mercedes-Benz cars was among the first global brands to blame escalating trade tensions when it warned in June last year that retaliatory tariffs in China on car imports from the US would hit sales on the mainland. Daimler cut its profit a second time in October - but did not single out the trade war as a culprit. Jaguar Land Rover and BMW have since weighed in, saying that they have been hit by sinking demand in China.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 04, 2019, with the headline 'Apple isn't the only casualty of China's slowdown'. Subscribe