China Bans Government Officials from Bringing iPhones and Imported Devices to Work

In a move signaling an increased emphasis on self-reliance, China is broadening its restriction on the usage of iPhones and other imported devices among government officials.

by Faruk Imamovic
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China Bans Government Officials from Bringing iPhones and Imported Devices to Work
© Getty Images News/Dan Kitwood

In a move signaling an increased emphasis on self-reliance, China is broadening its restriction on the usage of iPhones and other imported devices among government officials. As reported by The Wall Street Journal, civil servants have been advised against bringing foreign-branded devices into their workplaces or using them during official duties.

While the push is to decrease dependence on foreign technology, there is also an underlying objective to bolster cybersecurity. This decision does echo an earlier stance from Beijing. In 2019, foreign products such as Apple devices had been blacklisted for use within government departments.

The government’s ambition then was clear: oust Western technology in favor of homegrown alternatives within three years. Tied into China's 2017 Internet Security Law, the intent was to retain data within national boundaries, ensuring that technology employed was both "secure" and "under control."

Apple's Delicate Dance with China

Apple has typically steered clear of any direct confrontation, and there's a plausible reason.

Not only do entities like Foxconn and numerous other suppliers employ millions within China, but the tech giant also adheres rigorously to Chinese regulations. As a sign of its commitment, Apple has pulled thousands of non-compliant apps, including VPNs, from its store.

However, this hasn't made Apple immune to vulnerabilities. The Chinese market represents a significant chunk, nearly 19 percent, of Apple's overall revenue. Thus, any policy shift in China could have profound implications for the company.

In the broader context of global trade, the technological tussle between the U.S. and China has intensified. Following the U.S. ban on Huawei and other Chinese tech firms, Beijing reciprocated with an embargo on American chipmaker, Micron.

But the narrative took an intriguing twist recently. Huawei, the Chinese tech behemoth, unveiled its latest offering, the Mate 60 Pro. Remarkably, this device is powered by domestically manufactured 7nm chips. Upon closer inspection, these chips were surprisingly advanced.

This breakthrough showcases China's burgeoning capabilities in chip technology, further exemplified by the recent announcement of a $40 billion fund to advance its chip industry, amid ongoing trade tensions with the U.S. With every move and countermove, the technological battleground between the U.S. and China continues to evolve, bearing significant implications for global tech giants and their strategic decisions.

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