In the latest move to restrict foreign devices in order to reduce reliance on overseas technology, China has ordered officials at central government agencies to not use iPhones and other foreign-branded devices for work or even bring them into the office.
According to a report by the Wall Street Journal (via news agency Reuters), the orders were given in recent weeks and it is not clear how widely the orders were being distributed. The report, however, did not name other OEMs whose phones have been banned in the government offices.
The move is likely to hurt Apple’s success in the country, which has been one of the important manufacturing hubs for iPhones and other products. China is also one of Apple‘s biggest markets and generates nearly one-fifth of its revenue.
Apple iPhone 15 launch
The ban comes just days ahead of a launch event where the company is likely to launch four iPhones: iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max. China has been one of the key markets for iPhones.
In Q2 2023, Apple’s market share was 16% and the company saw the biggest YoY growth in the quarter as the OEM offered generous price-cuts for the iPhone 14 series, according to a report by Counterpoint Research.
China’s dependency on foreign tech
For over a decade, China has been working to reduce reliance on foreign technologies. Reports suggest that the government is asking state affiliated firms, such as banks, to switch to local software and promote domestic chip manufacturing.
Recently, a report by news agency Reuters said that China is set to launch a new state-backed investment fund that aims to raise about $40 billion for its semiconductor sector to ramp up efforts to catch up with the US and other rivals.
The US has also asked allies to block China’s access to vital equipment needed to keep its chip industry competitive.
Ban on Huawei devices
The latest restriction by China is similar to the bans imposed by the US against Chinese smartphone maker Huawei, alleging spying on the government. The US has been looking to ban short video platform TikTok, owned by China’s ByteDance.
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