China expands its ban on the use of iPhones and other foreign-branded devices within government agencies. Reports from The Wall Street Journal and other sources indicate that central government staff are directed to avoid using Apple's iPhones at work and inside office premises. This move aligns with China's ongoing efforts to decrease its dependency on foreign technology.
The Wall Street Journal reports that, according to individuals familiar with the matter, officials at central government agencies are directed “not to use iPhones and other foreign-branded devices for work or bring them into the office”.
Scope and Implications of the Ban
Devices from various foreign brands fall under the ban, not just Apple. While it remains uncertain how many central government agencies are affected, Beijing has imposed similar restrictions on iPhone usage among specific officials in the past. The decision may impact Apple's business in China, a market that contributes to approximately 19% of its total revenue. Tesla is facing similar problems as their cars face bans in an increasing number of areas the Chinese government sees at risk to foreign espionage.
China's recent action mirrors restrictions in other countries. For instance, the U.S. has banned certain Chinese apps and devices, such as TikTok on government-owned devices in New York City.
China has taken similar measures before. In 2014, Apple products faced a ban in certain government buildings due to security concerns. Additionally, government PCs saw a ban on Windows 8 that year. In 2019 China decided that officials will stop using Windows and instead use a proprietary operating system. While the government cites security concerns, the more obvious reason is retaliation against the United States.
The Chinese embassy in Washington DC declined to comment when approached by Business Insider. Apple remains silent on these developments.