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China ordered government workers and state-owned companies not to use iPhones and other Apple products for work, a ban that comes amid ongoing geopolitical and trade tensions with the United States, the Guardian reported.
A number of state agencies last week instructed their employees not to bring iPhones to work, with at least one state-owned firm prohibiting iPhones, Apple Watches and AirPods starting next month.
Following the ban, Apple shares fell more than six percent, although they regained some ground Friday and Monday.
Since 2018, the Chinese government has imposed a series of restrictions on the use of foreign-made tech among state officials. At the same time, the US and China have been engaged in a series of trade and geopolitical disputes that have impacted tech companies from both nations.
China is one of Apple’s biggest markets and generates nearly a fifth of the company’s revenue. Around 90 percent of Apple products are made in China, but the US tech giant has begun plans to move production elsewhere, including Vietnam and India.
Apple shifted the production of the iPhone 14 smartphone to India, marking the first time it has assembled an iPhone model outside China in the same year of release.
Some analysts believe that the new ban is part of Beijing’s efforts to decrease its reliance on US tech. Others have also described it as a tit-for-tat move after the US and other nations banned Chinese tech giant Huawei from national 5G networks.
Meanwhile, the US is limiting China’s access to crucial equipment, including in the chip industry, citing national security concerns.
This includes bans on telecom equipment from Chinese firms Huawei and ZTE, restrictions on TikTok usage on government phones, and controlled exports of advanced computer chips to China.
In response, China is reducing reliance on US chipmakers and striving for self-sufficiency in semiconductor production.