Apple shares fell on Thursday after a report indicated Chinese regulators were likely to approve a sale of its iPhone business, raising concerns about a new era of Chinese government control.
The stock price of Apple, which is up more than 100% in the past year, plunged more than 13% on the news, closing down as much as 1.5% after falling as much at 1.4% Thursday.
“It’s going to be a very challenging period in the coming months,” said James Bissett, chief executive officer of global equity research firm Bespoke Investment Group.
Apple shares closed down 0.7% at $196.77.
Analysts said the news raised concerns about the ability of China’s leadership to curb the growth of the Chinese economy.
“This is very bad news for Apple,” said Mike Biesecker, senior market analyst at IG.
“It means China’s government may have the capability to take over Apple and turn it into a market leader, a very difficult outcome.”
“I think this is going to play out in a way that will be very difficult for Apple to avoid,” said Bieso, noting that China is the world’s largest consumer of iPhones.
Boesecker said that Apple’s share price would likely rise if the stock is able to maintain its current level, but that could be difficult.
“I would expect it to fall because it is the most volatile of the stock,” he said.
Investors are also concerned about the impact that Apple could have on its ability to win a future bidding war with Samsung Electronics for its flagship Galaxy smartphones.
Apple’s stock price has gained nearly 40% since June.
Samsung has been trying to secure a new bid from Apple to replace the iPhone maker, which has been struggling to revive sales of its flagship phone, the Galaxy S3.
The bid is expected to be approved by regulators in China, where the smartphone maker has been banned from selling its phones under government control since 2014.
Apple shares have been rising steadily over the past few years, which helped boost its market capitalization.
In 2018, the company sold more than $4.5 billion in its shares.