China Bans iPhone for Government Workers: Report
In a move to bolster national cybersecurity and reduce dependency on foreign technology, China’s central government agencies have been directed to refrain from using Apple’s iPhones and other foreign-branded devices at work, reports sources speaking with the Wall Street Journal. The directive, which was communicated to staff via workplace chat groups and meetings, extends a long-standing restriction on the use of iPhones by government officials.
The decision could pose challenges for foreign brands operating in China, notably Apple, which holds a significant share of the high-end smartphone market. China is a crucial market for Apple, accounting for approximately 19% of its total revenue.
While the extent of the directive’s distribution remains unclear, sources indicate that similar instructions were given to employees at several central government regulatory bodies.
The move echoes the U.S. ban on Huawei and the prohibition against officials using the Chinese-owned app, TikTok, highlighting growing concerns over data security and leaks in both nations. This comes at a time when U.S.-China relations are strained, with both countries emphasizing national security.
Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, has been advocating for enhanced national security measures, especially as tensions with the U.S. escalate. This has led to increased state control over data and digital activities. In July, China began the enforcement of a comprehensive update to its anti-espionage law.
Beijing has been actively encouraging its agencies and state-owned enterprises to transition from foreign technology to domestic alternatives, emphasizing the need for “safe and controllable” products.
China is not alone in questioning the security of the iPhone for its government workers. Back in July, Russian officials were told to ditch their iPhones over fears of U.S. espionage as well.