China has issued a directive to its central government officials, instructing them to refrain from using Apple’s iPhone and other foreign smartphone brands while at work, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal.
While the extent of this ban across central government agencies remains uncertain, it is not the first time that Beijing has imposed restrictions on iPhone usage among certain officials.
This latest directive emerges in the context of escalating tensions between the United States and China, particularly in what has been termed a “tech war.” China is actively pursuing technological self-sufficiency to reduce its reliance on foreign products and technologies. This decision to curtail the use of foreign smartphones in government agencies aligns with these broader objectives.
The ban may have notable consequences for Apple, given that China is one of the company’s most substantial markets, accounting for nearly 20% of its total revenue in 2022. As China continues to prioritize domestic technologies and products, Apple and other foreign tech companies operating in the country may face increased challenges in maintaining their market presence.
This move by China bears some similarity to restrictions in the United States, where certain jurisdictions, like New York City, have banned the use of applications like TikTok on government-owned devices. Both countries are grappling with national security and data privacy, which have become central to global tech.
China’s decision to instruct its central government officials to abstain from using foreign smartphones at work reflects the broader geopolitical and economic dynamics between China and the United States.
As China strives for self-sufficiency in the technology sector, the impact of this ban on foreign tech companies, particularly Apple, in one of their key markets will be closely watched.