Tensions with China continue to ramp up after Beijing reportedly bans government officials from using iPhones for work
The Chinese government has reportedly stepped up its response to growing Western sanctions and trade restrictions.
The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), citing people familiar with the matter, reported that China 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.
Earlier this week it emerged that China is to launch a $40 billion state-backed investment fund for under pressure China’s semiconductor sector.
And in response to Western chip restrictions, Beijing has also banned some key domestic industries from purchasing chips from US memory chipmaker Micron over national security concerns.
China iPhone ban
According to the WSJ, the Apple iPhone ban seems to be less obvious. It reported that in recent weeks, government staff were given the instructions by their superiors in workplace chat groups or meetings.
It is also not clear clear how widely the orders were being distributed, and which Chinese government departments are affected.
Apple is expected to launch unveil its new iPhone 15 portfolio next week at its so called ‘Wonderlust’ event in California.
If the Chinese iPhone ban is widespread, it could trigger concern about Apple, as China is one of Apple’s biggest markets and generates nearly a fifth of its revenue.
There will also be concern for other foreign companies operating in China, as Sino-US tensions escalate.
The WSJ did not mention any other phone makers besides Apple in its report.
Beijing may however 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 revealed a surprising development, namely a 7-nanometre processor – the Kirin 9000s chip – that was made in China by SMIC.
Since 2019 Huawei Technologies has been the subject of rounds of US export controls, that have expanded notably to slow the expansion of China’s entire semiconductor industry.