China is pushing for technological self-sufficiency to reduce dependence on foreign suppliers. The government recently banned all iPhones and other foreign-brand technology products from being used in government offices, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
Under the new policy, government employees are prohibited from using devices like the iPhone for work purposes or even bringing them into office buildings. The move represents a major expansion of China’s long-running effort to reduce reliance on foreign technology amid cybersecurity concerns.
Apple has enjoyed significant success in China’s smartphone market as local competitor Huawei has been unable to keep up after being impacted by the 5G sanctions from the US. However, Apple’s strong position in China could now be threatened following a new prohibition that may fuel speculation of espionage or meddling by the company.
On the other hand, Apple announced in July the launch of its online store on China’s popular messaging app, WeChat. This program allows users of the app to purchase the full range of Apple products.
This is not the first time foreign-branded products have been banned in the country. In 2014, Apple products were banned from some government buildings due to security concerns. In the same year, Windows 8 was also banned from government PCs.
The ban comes amid broader tensions between China and Western nations like the US, which has imposed various trade and technology sanctions on Beijing. Recently, Microsoft reported that Chinese hackers accessed government email accounts in the United States and Europe. The company said that the hackers were likely motivated by the government.