Apple (AAPL): Why is iPhone Banned in China?

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Shares of Apple Inc. (AAPL) are down $1.95 at $95.60, following reports this morning from Forbes and The Wall Street Journal that said China’s Beijing Intellectual Property Office had barred Cupertino from selling models of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in the city, citing strong similarity with the design of an existing Chinese phone.

Apple confirmed Beijing’s lower court order related to its alleged patent infringement, saying it has appealed the decision and that all products are still for sale in the country.

“IPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus as well as iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus and iPhone SE models are all available for sale today in China,” Apple said in a statement Friday. “We appealed an administrative order from a regional patent tribunal in Beijing last month and as a result the order has been stayed pending review by the Beijing IP Court.”

The ruling, which relates to Shenzhen Baili’s 100C smartphone, represents the latest challenge for Apple in China, its largest market outside of the U.S. A 26% decline in iPhone sales in China was a major factor that pushed Apple towards its first quarterly drop in revenue in 13 years in April.

The move to stop the company from selling the iPhones comes just a month after Apple announced a $1 billion investment in Chinese Uber competitor Didi Chuxing Technology Co.

Also this morning, RBC Capital’s Amit Daryanani lowered his AAPL price target to $115 from $120, noting he is modestly adjusting September-quarter and beyond iPhone revenues lower to reflect longer replacement cycles and increased conservatism about its upcoming iPhone 7. However, the analyst said he sees the stock as attractively valued and expects the company’s gross margins to rebound over the next quarters.

Price Action:

Apple began trading this morning at $96.65 to currently trade 2.04% lower from the prior days close of $97.55. On an intraday basis it has gotten as low as $95.36 and as high as $96.65.

AAPL shares have advanced 4.34% in the last 4 weeks , while declining 7.24% in the past three months. Over the past 5 trading sessions the stock has lost 2.11%. The $523.45 billion market cap tech giant has a median Street price target of $120 with a high target of $185.

Apple Inc. is down 21.80% year-over-year, compared with a 1.52% loss in the S&P 500.

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