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Brand Slam: Why China bans government officials from using Apple iPhones

Models of Apple iPhones and Tablet

*Tensions currently build with China as the Asian country has ordered officials at central government agencies not to use Apple’s iPhones and other foreign-branded devices for work, or even bring them into the office, citing apparent ‘national security concerns’

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

The Chinese Government has ordered officials at the central government agencies to not use Apple’s iPhones and other foreign-branded devices for work, or even bring them into the office over national security concerns.

ConsumerConnect learnt that tensions with China had continued to ramp up after Beijing recently  instructed government officials to refrain from using iPhones for work.

China has stepped up its response to growing Western sanctions and trade restrictions, according to report.

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), also citing people familiar with the matter, reported that China had ordered officials, particularly at the central government agencies to aviod using Apple’s iPhones and other foreign-branded devices for work, or even bring them into the office.

Earlier this week, report indicated that China was set to launch a $40 billion state-backed investment fund for under pressure China’s semiconductor sector.

Perhaps in response to Western chip restrictions, Beijing has equally banned some key domestic industries from purchasing chips from the United States (US) memory chipmaker Micron over national security concerns.

The Apple iPhone ban seems to be less obvious, report said.

WSJ report further noted that in recent weeks, the Chinese Government staff were given the instructions by their superiors in workplace chat groups or meetings.

It is, however, unclear how widely the orders were being distributed, and which Chinese Government departments are affected as the ban took reflect in the Asian country.

Likely global implications of ban of iPhones in China market

As Apple is expected to launch unveil its new iPhone 15 portfolio next week at its so-called ‘Wonderlust’ event in California, US.

Yet, it is noted if the current Chinese iPhone ban is widespread in the country, it could trigger concern about Apple, as China is one of Apple’s biggest markets and generates nearly a fifth of its revenue, according to report.

As a wide-ranging effect of such ban, there will also be concern for other foreign companies operating in China, as Sino-US tensions escalate.

Beijing, however, may believe that its move against Apple iPhones mirrors similar bans in the United States against Chinese smartphone maker Huawei Technologies and TikTok, owned by China’s ByteDance.

A teardown this week of the latest Huawei smartphone indicated a surprising development, namely a 7-nanometre processor – the Kirin 9000s chip – that was made in China by SMIC, report stated.

Since 2019 Huawei Technologies has been the subject of rounds of US export controls, that have expanded especially to slow the expansion of China’s entire semiconductor industry.

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