As per reports, China bans iPhones from being used at work. China has recently issued directives to officials within central government agencies, instructing them not to utilize Apple iPhones and other foreign-branded devices for official work or bring them into office premises, as reported by the Wall Street Journal on September 6. People familiar with the matter provided this information.
Superiors have relayed these directives to employees in the past few weeks, but the WSJ report does not clarify the extent of their distribution. This ban comes ahead of an upcoming Apple event anticipated to unveil a new line of iPhones, a development that may cause unease among foreign companies operating in China, particularly as tensions between China and the United States continue to escalate.
The WSJ report did not specify any other phone manufacturers aside from Apple. Both Apple and China’s State Council Information Office, responsible for handling media inquiries on behalf of the Chinese government, have not responded to Reuters’ requests for comment at the time of reporting.
Another reason china bans iPhones is that they have been actively pursuing a strategy to reduce its reliance on foreign technology for over a decade. This initiative has involved encouraging state-affiliated entities, such as banks, to transition to local software and promoting domestic chip manufacturing. Beijing intensified this campaign in 2020 with the introduction of a “dual circulation” growth model, aimed at diminishing dependence on foreign markets and technology due to heightened concerns over data security.
Self-Reliance in Technology
In May, China urged major state-owned enterprises (SOEs) to assume a pivotal role in achieving self-reliance in technology, intensifying competition in this area amidst growing rifts with the United States. Sino-US tensions have been on the rise, with Washington collaborating with allies to impede China’s access to essential equipment crucial for the competitiveness of its chip industry. In response, Beijing has imposed restrictions on shipments from prominent US companies like Boeing, a planemaker, and Micron Technology, a chip manufacturer.
During a recent visit to China, US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo reported that US companies had voiced concerns that China had become a risky place for investment. She pointed to fines, raids, and other actions that have made it increasingly challenging to conduct business in the world’s second-largest economy.
China’s recent restriction closely resembles the United States’ imposition of similar bans on Chinese smartphone maker Huawei Technologies and the short video platform TikTok, owned by China’s ByteDance.
China represents one of Apple’s most significant markets, accounting for nearly one-fifth of its total revenue.