China has ordered officials at all government agencies to stop using Apple (AAPL) iPhones and other foreign electronic devices for work.
A report in The Wall Street Journal newspaper says that the order was given by superiors to their staff in recent weeks and comes days ahead of an Apple event where the new iPhone 15 is expected to be unveiled.
The ban on iPhones among government workers also comes as political tensions escalate between the U.S. and China.
China’s government is aggressively trying to reduce its reliance on foreign technologies, asking state-owned firms such as banks to switch to local software and promoting domestic microchip manufacturing.
Chinese politicians have cited concerns over data security as the reason for the crackdown on foreign technologies.
However, the U.S. government has been working with its allies to block China’s access to the equipment needed to keep its domestic microchip and semiconductor industry competitive.
At the same time, the U.S. has banned federal government workers from using Chinese smartphone maker Huawei Technologies, as well as the short form video app TikTok, which is owned by China’s ByteDance.
The Chinese ban could be a blow to Apple’s sales as China is one of the company’s biggest markets and generates nearly one-fifth (20%) of its annual revenue.
Apple’s stock has gained 23% over the last 12 months and currently trades at $189.70 U.S. per share.