China has banned officials at central government agencies from using Apple’s iPhones and other foreign-branded devices while at work, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.
The report recalls that in recent weeks, staff were given the instructions by their superiors in workplace chat groups or meetings, but it wasn’t clear how widely the orders ranged.
The ban comes ahead of a new line of iPhones to be launched which reports say could trigger concerns among foreign companies operating in China as Sino-U.S. tensions escalate.
China, for over a decade, had been seeking to reduce reliance on foreign technologies, asking state-affiliated firms such as banks to switch to local software and promoting domestic semiconductor chip manufacturing.
Beijing ratcheted up this campaign in 2020, when its leaders proposed a so-called “dual circulation” growth model to reduce reliance on overseas markets and technology, as its concerns over data security grew.
In May, China urged big state-owned enterprises to play a key role in its drive to attain self-reliance in technology, raising the stakes in the race amid rifts with the United States.
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