The Chinese government has reportedly instructed state employees to stop using Apple phones as part of a wider pushback against the US tech group. This has caused a $200bn decrease in Apple’s share value. Chinese government agencies and state-owned companies have been imposing unofficial restrictions on the use of Apple products for years. Reasons cited for the ban include concerns about US security agencies controlling Apple devices and the “huge security risks” posed by Apple’s iOS. Some employees have voluntarily stopped using iPhones due to escalating tensions between the US and China. The Chinese government aims to exercise greater control over the flow of information and has previously restricted American tech giants from selling to Chinese agencies. Apple’s profits have benefited from US sanctions on Huawei, its biggest competitor in China. In response to the ban, some Chinese technology groups have also been cut off from selling to Western government departments. The UK has ordered the removal of surveillance equipment made by Hikvision from government departments, while the US and the European Union have banned the use of TikTok on government devices. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that they welcome products from any country that meet China’s legal and regulatory requirements. Neither Apple nor Huawei has commented on the ban.
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