China’s central government has issued a directive prohibiting officials from utilizing foreign-made smartphones, such as Apple’s iPhone, for state tasks, according to The Wall Street Journal. The policy aims to decrease dependence on international technology and enhance cybersecurity while preventing the leaking of sensitive information to foreign states.
Apple is particularly affected by this policy since China constitutes one of its largest consumer bases. Even as Apple shifts manufacturing to nations like India, China continues to be a crucial component of its supply network. Previously, to accommodate Chinese regulations, Apple has modified its iOS software, including shortening the AirDrop feature’s time limit and eliminating the Taiwanese flag emoji.
The Wall Street Journal also mentioned that China already restricts the use of iPhones in certain governmental bodies and has banned the use of other international tech products. For example, military and government employees are not allowed to use Tesla vehicles, and Tesla has since agreed to store Chinese consumer data domestically.
In a reciprocal move, the United States has also taken steps to ban Chinese technology, including the prohibition of Huawei and ZTE equipment and ongoing efforts to ban TikTok at various government levels. Additionally, American companies like Nvidia and AMD have broadened the scope of their AI training chip sales ban to include Middle Eastern countries, although U.S. authorities have denied that such an expansion has occurred under the Biden administration.