Apple Shares Slide After China Ban Reportedly Broadened

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Apple shares fall for two days in succession following reports of broadening ban on iPhone use by Chinese government workers

Apple’s shares have slid more than 6 percent in recent days following reports that officials in China had widened a ban on government workers’ use of iPhones.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that central government agencies had been ordered not to use iPhones for work or bring them into the office, while Bloomberg reported the following day that the ban may also be imposed on staff at state-owned companies and government-backed organisations.

Apple’s shares tumbled on both Wednesday and Thursday, recouping only .35 percent on Friday.

As of mid-morning BST on Monday they had risen about 1 percent in pre-market trading, but remained just over 6 percent lower than before the reports.

Beijing China Zhang Kaiyv Unsplash
Image credit: Zhang Kaiyv/Unsplash

Tech tensions

China is a key market for Apple, making up about 18 percent of its total revenues last year.

The company also manufactures about 90 percent of its products in the country, although it has recently begun shifting some production to countries such as India and Vietnam.

The ban, which has not been commented on officially by the Chinese government was widely seen as a reprisal for US trade restrictions on China’s tech industry.

Those measures included restrictions on imposed last October on selling high-end semiconductors and chip-making equipment to Chinese firms.

Tech restrictions

They were followed by similar ones from Japan and the Netherlands.

A number of US-allied countries have also banned 5G equipment from Chinese firm Huawei.

China previously ordered companies that make critical infrastructure to stop buying products from memory chip maker Micron Technology.

Last week, during a visit by US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo to Beijing, Huawei unveiled its Mate 60 Pro smartphone using high-end technology that appeared to skirt the sanctions.

Semiconductor advances

The phone uses chips made by China’s SMIC that utilise 7-nanometre technology, without access to EUV lithography tools that are banned for sale to Chinese firms.

Apple is expected to unveil its iPhone 15 range at an event on Tuesday.