China bans the use of Apple iPhones with government officials, the Wall Street Journal reports

Hong Kong / New York

China has banned the use of iPhones for central government officials, the Wall Street Journal reports mentionedciting unnamed people familiar with the matter.

Apple shares fell 3.6% Wednesday after the news, closing at $182.91 in New York. It is the largest daily drop in a month. Prior to Wednesday, Apple shares were up 46% this year.

The Wall Street Journal reported that managers notified employees of the ban via Chat groups or meetings.

CNN has reached out to the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Apple (Camel), but did not receive any response.

A source who regularly deals with Chinese central government agencies told CNN that Chinese officials had already been following an unwritten rule of avoiding the use of iPhones since before the pandemic despite the apparent absence of an official policy. The source requested that his name not be mentioned due to the sensitivity of the issue.

The source added that central government officials are now turning to smart phones manufactured by major local companies, especially Huawei.

In June 2022, CNN reported that some Chinese government ministries had banned Tesla cars from their premises due to security concerns.

Apple CEO Tim Cook made a high-level visit to the country in March. China is an important market and manufacturing hub for the company, accounting for approximately 19% of its total revenue.

Banning the iPhone for government officials could be retaliation for similar moves by the United States against Chinese technology and could have a chilling effect on Apple and other large foreign brands with an established presence in China.

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Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE have long been subject to US restrictions. In November 2022, the Biden administration banned approvals of new telecommunications equipment from the two companies because they pose an “unacceptable risk” to US national security.

TikTok has it too has been banned of devices released by multiple US institutions, including the House of Representatives, New York City, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio, Texas and Georgia, due to concerns that the Chinese government could access users’ data through its Chinese parent company. ByteDance.

CNN’s Beijing bureau contributed to this article.

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