The Chinese government has banned employees of the central government from using Apple iPhones for work, according to sources cited by The Wall Street Journal. The ban reportedly extends to other non-Chinese smartphone brands as well.
In recent weeks, officials are said to have been informed of the ban through chat groups or in meetings, although the exact extent of the restrictions is not immediately clear. The Wall Street Journal also reported that employees of some central supervisory agencies have been told that foreign-made smartphones are prohibited.
Apple and the primary information agency of the People’s Republic of China have not responded directly to inquiries from the American newspaper. The Beijing government had previously imposed restrictions on certain officials using iPhones, but now a broader ban on the phone’s usage is in effect.
China is implementing this measure amid escalating tensions with the United States and other Western countries. The U.S. government has been increasingly restricting China’s access to advanced chip technology, which has also affected Dutch chip equipment maker ASML with export limitations.
Meanwhile, China has been striving for years to reduce its dependence on Western technology. Simultaneously, the ban on iPhones for government officials can be seen as retaliation for similar restrictions in the United States on the use of smartphones from the Chinese company Huawei and the video app TikTok, which is owned by a Chinese parent company.