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iPhone ban in China could expand to workers at state firms and agencies

Published Sep 7th, 2023 12:09PM EDT
Apple Store customers iPhone 16
Image: VCG/VCG via Getty Images

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After The Wall Street Journal reported that Chinese government agencies have barred staff from using the iPhone and other foreign devices at work, it seems the iPhone ban in China could be broader than first anticipated.

Previously, WSJ has said that employees at “some” central government regulators received instructions to stop bringing these gadgets into the office. Now, Bloomberg reports that China plans to expand the bans to government-backed agencies and state companies.

While this is part of a Chinese plan to reduce its dependence on American products, it also threatens Apple’s market position, as a fifth of its revenue comes from there. The company also employs millions of Chinese in factories producing most of its iPhones.

At the moment, Bloomberg says it’s unclear how many companies or agencies could eventually adopt restrictions on personal devices. Interestingly, this iPhone ban in China comes just after Huawei released its new Mate 60 Pro, which uses the country’s own 7nm 5G modem, blowing previous US sanctions on the company and this technology.

While the US-China relationship has been fragile over these years, Apple and its CEO, Tim Cook, were able to navigate between these tensions. Cook, for example, went on a trip to the country earlier this year and called Apple’s relationship with China “symbiotic.”

As the company tries to diversify its supply chain by betting in India, it still relies heavily on China. That said, it’s unclear how this iPhone ban could impact the iPhone 15 announcement next week and how this sanction could impact Apple in the near future.

For the iPhone 15, Apple is expected to announce four new models. All of them should get the Dynamic Island cutout, camera improvements, and USB-C port. The Pro models will get a new chip, a titanium frame, and more.

BGR will keep an eye on this iPhone ban at state firms and agencies in China and how the situation develops.

José Adorno Tech News Reporter

José is a Tech News Reporter at BGR. He has previously covered Apple and iPhone news for 9to5Mac, and was a producer and web editor for Latin America broadcaster TV Globo. He is based out of Brazil.