Washington: Amidst heightened tension between the United States and China, Beijing has barred government officials from using Apple’s popular smartphone brand iPhone and other foreign-branded devices for work or bring them into offices.
iPhones are one of the most popular brands in China, making the country one of Apple's biggest markets that generates nearly one-fifth of its revenue.
Chinese government staff were given instructions regarding the ban by their superiors in workplace chat groups or meetings recently, according to Wall Street Journal (WSJ).
The Wall Street Journal report did not name other foreign brands besides Apple but said it wasn't clear how widely the orders were being distributed.
The latest restriction by China mirrors similar bans taken in the United States against Chinese smartphone maker Huawei Technologies and short video platform TikTok.
The ban also comes ahead of an Apple event next week that analysts believe will be about launching a new line of iPhones, and could trigger concerns among foreign companies operating in China as Sino-U.S. tensions escalate.
Washington works with its allies to block China's access to vital equipment needed to keep its chip industry competitive, and Beijing restricts shipments from prominent US firms.
Meanwhile, several analysts said that the reported move showed Beijing was not willing to spare any U.S. company in its push to reduce its dependence on American technologies.
"Even Apple is not immune ... in China where it employs hundreds of thousands, if not more than a million workers, to assemble its products through its relationship with Foxconn," news agency Reuters quoted D.A. Davidson analyst, Tom Forte, as saying.
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