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CNA: China’s iPhone Ban Expands

Primary Taiwanese news agency Central News Agency (CNA) recently reported that a growing number of Chinese government agencies and state-owned companies are ordering employees not to bring iPhones and other foreign-brand phones to work. The spread of such unprecedented bans is likely to lock out companies like Apple and Samsung from parts of the world’s largest mobile phone market.

In the past couple of months, several state-owned enterprises and several government agencies in at least eight Chinese provinces (including in wealthy coastal provinces) have instructed employees to start bringing only Chinese-brand mobile phones to work. The situation has intensified significantly from September, when only a handful of agencies in Beijing and Tianjin began requiring employees to leave foreign devices at home.

It is unclear exactly how many Chinese government agencies have issued such directives banning foreign phones. The eight province-level governments involved so far are Zhejiang, Guangdong, Jiangsu, Anhui, Shanxi, Shandong, Liaoning and Hebei.

This new round of bans has seen much more extensive and synchronized action, marking a significant acceleration of the Chinese authorities’ shift away from dependence on U.S. technology. The ban could cause a quick and direct hit to Apple’s market share in China. For Apple, which uses China to produce most of its devices, the Chinese market accounts for about 1/5 of its revenue.

An Apple spokesperson declined to comment on the new bans. China’s State Council Information Office and the Cyberspace Administration of China, which oversee cybersecurity, also did not respond to the requests for comment.

Source: CNA, December 16, 2023