The reason behind that Why China banned using iPhones for officials and state employees?
This is Beijing’s latest salvo in the tech war between the US and China.
Apparently, iPhones are banned for government officials and employees of state-owned enterprises in China.
China has banned central government officials from using Apple devices, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Bloomberg reported on Friday that the ban would be extended to government-controlled organizations, including government-backed agencies and state companies.
Beijing’s latest moves, which were not announced officially, are part of the ongoing trade and technology war between Washington and Beijing.
Why ban the iPhone and why now?
In spite of the bans being bad news for Apple and a potential omen for Western tech companies in general, China watchers haven’t been completely surprised.
Increasingly, the US and China are prioritizing alleged national security concerns over investment and trade in order to reduce economic dependence. Tech analysts describe Huawei’s $1,200 Mate 60 Pro smartphone as giving the iPhone a run for its money as Beijing attempts to reduce its dependence on foreign technology.
As the Mate 60 Pro has just been launched, Bank of America notes that the iPhone ban comes at an “interesting” time.
In an interview with Al Jazeera, Chim Lee told Al Jazeera that limiting personal use of iPhones, which could access local networks and collect environmental data, aligns with the government’s commitment to bolster cybersecurity.
Despite its efforts since at least 2016, Lee said that China has been hindered by technological limitations in closing cybersecurity loopholes. “Recent technological advances may have given the government some confidence to proceed with these cybersecurity measures,” he said.
Both China and the US view each other’s tech companies as potential security risks that can give access to sensitive data and government infrastructure.
A number of US states are considering banning Chinese-owned TikTok following Montana’s ban in May.
On government-issued phones, the app has already been banned by US federal agencies and many state governments.
A number of Chinese tech firms, including Huawei, were also banned from doing business with US companies, and US chipmakers were restricted from selling Chinese advanced technology.
Mate 60 Pro, powered by the advanced Kirin 9000s processor, has raised questions about export controls’ effectiveness.
President Biden’s National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said last week that the administration was seeking more information about the “character and composition” of the smartphone.
What does the iPhone ban mean for Apple and other Western tech firms?
Between Wednesday and Friday, Apple’s stock price tumbled nearly 6 percent, wiping nearly $200 billion off the world’s most valuable company’s value. Western companies operating in China have also felt a chill from the ban, questioning how welcome foreign firms are.
Although Chinese officials say China is open for business again after the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, police raids have occurred on foreign firms, including the Mintz Group. Anti-espionage laws have underscored the difficulty of doing business and accessing information.
Additionally, there are many challenges facing foreign firms, including the fallout of the pandemic, intellectual property theft, government discrimination in favor of domestic competitors, and regulatory challenges.
As Apple had, until recently, had a relatively good relationship with Beijing, Apple’s latest restrictions could add to doubts about doing business in China.
To prevent users from evading internet censorship, Apple’s Chinese iOS store removed virtual private networks, or VPNs, in order to comply with Beijing’s demands for control.
A meeting between Apple CEO Tim Cook and Chinese Premier Li Qiang was held in Beijing as recently as March. Bishop, author of Sinocism, said on Friday: “Apple’s confidence that it can navigate US-China tensions without any material blowback may be increasingly misplaced.”
What does the iPhone ban mean for China?
Despite the ban, everyday Chinese citizens will still be able to purchase the iPhone 15 and other Apple products. China’s economic future, however, is at odds with Beijing’s desire for control.
As a result of the ban, some companies, such as Apple, may begin to shift production and investment away from China. Despite the increasingly hostile business environment in China, US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said last month that foreign companies were beginning to view the country as “uninventable.” Due to deflation, slowing exports, a real estate crisis, and high youth unemployment, China’s post-pandemic recovery is faltering.
The news reference is ALJAZEERA