China bans government officials from using iPhones at work: report

China ordered officials from central government agencies not to use Apple’s iPhones and other foreign-branded devices for work or bring them to the office The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter.

In recent weeks, employees have been given instructions by their managers in chat groups or workplace meetings, the report said. It is not clear how widely the orders would be distributed.

The ban comes ahead of an Apple event next week, which analysts say will mark the launch of a new line of iPhones, and could raise concerns among foreign companies operating in China as tensions between China and the US escalate.

The WSJ report didn’t name any phone makers other than Apple.

Apple and the China State Council Information Office, which handles media inquiries on behalf of the Chinese government, did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment.

Shares of the iPhone maker ended down 3.6% at $182.91.

Apple store in Beijing
The reported ban comes ahead of an Apple event next week that analysts say will be dedicated to the launch of a new line of iPhones.

For more than a decade, China has sought to reduce reliance on foreign technology, requiring state-owned companies like banks to switch to local software and encouraging domestic semiconductor chip manufacturing.

Beijing ramped up that campaign in 2020, when its leadership proposed a so-called “dual-circulation” growth model to reduce reliance on foreign markets and technology as data security concerns mounted.

In May, China urged large state-owned companies to play a key role in its pursuit of technological independence, upping the ante in the race amid differences with the United States.

Tensions between China and the US have been running high as Washington works with allies to block China’s access to vital equipment it needs to keep its chip industry competitive and Beijing cuts supplies from big-name firms like planemaker Boeing and the chip company Micron Technology Limited.

Apple CEO Tim Cook leaves the venue after his speech at the 2023 China Development Forum in Beijing in March.
Apple CEO Tim Cook delivered a speech at the 2023 China Development Forum in Beijing in March.

Several analysts said on Wednesday the reported move shows Beijing is unwilling to spare a US company in its bid to reduce its reliance on American technology.

“Even Apple isn’t immune…in China, where through its relationship with Foxconn it employs hundreds of thousands if not more than a million workers to assemble its products,” said Tom Forte, an analyst at DA Davidson.

This “should inspire companies to diversify both their supply chain and customer focus to be less dependent on China should tensions intensify.”

China is one of Apple’s largest markets, generating nearly a fifth of its sales.

iPhone 14 phone
Several analysts said the reported move shows Beijing is unwilling to spare a US company in its bid to reduce its reliance on American technology.

However, given the popularity of the iPhone in China, no immediate impact on earnings is expected, said Angelo Zino, an analyst at CFRA Research.

During a visit to China last week, US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said US companies had complained to her that China had become “uninvestable,” citing fines, crackdowns and other measures that made it risky in the second-largest country the world doing business economy.

The recent restriction by China mirrors similar bans imposed in the United States on Chinese smartphone maker Huawei Technologies and short-video platform TikTok, owned by Chinese company ByteDance.


DUSTIN JONES is a USTimeToday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. DUSTIN JONES joined USTimeToday in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with DUSTIN JONES by emailing

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