China declares that it hasn’t restricted iPhones or foreign machines for management staff

September 15, 2023: On Wednesday, China has not created any laws or regulations prohibiting government employees from using or buying foreign phones, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said, addressing media reports that said state staffers had been excluded from using Apple iPhones.

“China has not allocated any laws, regulations or policy documents prohibiting the purchase and use of mobile phones from foreign brands such as Apple,” a Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson stated at a regularly scheduled briefing in Beijing on Wednesday.

Apple shares dropped nearly 4% the previous week after The Wall Street Journal reported that staffers at central country agencies had been banned from using iPhones for work and even from bringing the smartphones into state offices, citing people familiar. Bloomberg reported that China planned to extend the ban to government-backed agencies and state-owned enterprises, citing people familiar.

The Journal reported that the instructions were verbally or in chat groups but that there was no formal guidance. The Foreign Ministry specifically denied the existence of any official policy barring foreign phone use but did not address the informal advice written by the Journal.

Apple shares were down less than 1% in early trading, a day after the company declared the new iPhone 15.

The response from the Foreign Ministry spokesperson also noted unspecified “security happenings” linked to iPhones.

“We have indeed noticed lately that many media have exposed security incidents related to Apple mobile phones,” the spokesperson said. “The Chinese country attaches great importance to data and network security.”

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China declares that it hasn’t restricted iPhones or foreign machines for management staff