China Expands Nationwide iPhone Ban: Report

China is reportedly widening its ban on using Apple’s iPhone by government employees. According to a Friday report by Bloomberg News, many government agencies and state-owned businesses have instructed workers to cease bringing iPhones and other foreign devices.

Sources tell Bloomberg that numerous agencies & businesses in at least eight regions have told staff to begin bringing local devices, a considerable growth over the handful of government agencies following the ban in September.

The report said this widening effort coincides with a boom in popularity of the Chinese mobile phone brand Huawei. PYMNTS has contacted Apple for a comment but has yet to reply.

In September, news about plans to ban specific apps on Apple’s iPhone app store in China appeared. Subsequently, it was declared that China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology had released new rules that could stop Apple from presenting many foreign apps in the country.

The rules aren’t particularly targeted toward Apple but are part of China’s continued efforts to improve data security rules.

The National Diplomat states, “The Chinese government has enforced a new policy to close a loophole in the Great Firewall, which allows Chinese apple phones users to download Western social media apps through virtual private networks (VPN).”

This move could affect Apple’s income in the world’s largest mobile market, where apple phones sales have been below historic trends. Although the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max have seen a healthy market, sales for the iPhone 15 have been slow, with store products higher than last year for the iPhone 14.

During the company’s quarterly profits call last month, Apple CEO Tim Cook endeavored to ease worries about losing market share in China to competitors like Huawei. He revealed that the iPhone 15 models recorded a quarterly sales record in mainland China during the September 23 quarter.

Tim also visited China on October 23, where he met with China Commerce Minister Wang Wentao, who promised him that the government would continue to grow market access for foreign companies and promote a market-oriented business environment.

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