Chinese exports set for iPhone 6 boost

The iPhone 6 is expected to provide a much-needed boost not only for Apple sales but also for Greater China's export sector.

Widely expected to be launched on September 9, Apple's iPhone 6, rumored to have a bigger screen, new features and slimmer design, is touted as a "game changer" for the smartphone market.

"[The] iPhone is an American product but is made in China. The iPhone 6 could be the most anticipated Apple smartphone ever, with interest easily outstripping that of the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5," Ting Lu, chief China economist at Bank of America Merill Lynch (BofA-ML) wrote in a note.

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"Sales of iPhone 6, thanks to its expected large scale, could even impact macro indicators in those countries involved in making it," Lu said.

The iPhone 6 could add about 1 percentage point per month to Chinese export growth for the rest of 2014, while Taiwan's export growth could get an around 2 percentage points boost per month during August-October and 1 percentage point per month from November 2014-January 2015, according to the bank's calculations.

"Export growth of China and Taiwan was only 4.9 percent and 4.4 percent [on-year] in 2Q14 respectively, so a boost of 1 to 2 percentage points to headline export growth is no small matter, especially for the currency market which closely track export growth numbers," Lu said.

Taiwan's economy provides a significant number of components for Apple smartphones, while China is primarily involved in the device's assembly, the bank said.

"Taiwan especially stands out for its strength in the semiconductor sector, where the next generation A8 processor for iPhones is being produced. We thus reckon that Taiwan's exports will also be lifted when these valuable components are shipped to China or other assembly locations," Lu said.

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Taiwanese manufacturers are estimated to provide about $25 worth of inputs for each upcoming iPhone 6, equivalent to around 12 percent of the phone's total cost, according to the bank's estimates.

"That said, not all Taiwanese component makers who are key suppliers to iPhone 6 will contribute to Taiwan's exports simply because some of them have already relocated their manufacturing bases to mainland China," he added.

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Louis Kuijis, chief China economist at RBS says judging by the headwinds facing Chinese exports, a boost from iPhone shipments would be a welcome development.

China is grappling with tepid demand from both emerging and developed markets, as such the recent pick up in exports is unlikely to be sustained over the remainder of the year, he said.

China's exports accelerated 14.5 percent on year in July, nearly double the 8 percent growth forecast by economists.