The government’s directive: Chinese ministries should refrain from using iPhones.

CThe government of China considers iPhones to be a growing security risk and has instructed employees from various ministries to stop using Apple devices in the future. This information has been reported by both the „Wall Street Journal“ in New York and the Hong Kong-based „South China Morning Post“ (SCMP).

Gustav Theile

Wirtschaftskorrespondent für China mit Sitz in Schanghai.

According to SCMP, the directive was given to employees in the investment, trading, and international relations departments. By the end of September, these employees will need to switch to other brands, not necessarily Chinese ones. It is reported that some government departments have already implemented a similar ban for a few years, while other ministries are not affected by this measure for now.

Zwischen den Fronten der Geopolitik

Apple droht damit, verstärkt zwischen die Fronten des geopolitischen Konflikts zwischen China und den USA zu geraten. Der Konzern machte zuletzt etwa ein Fünftel seines Umsatzes in der Volksrepublik und produziert dort den Großteil seiner Smartphones. Anfang des Jahres reiste Apple-Chef Tim Cook nach China und traf unter anderem den neuen Premierminister Li Qiang.

The iPhone manufacturer, along with Microsoft, is one of the few US digital companies present in China and subject to the Great Firewall regime. This firewall shields the Chinese internet and restricts access to numerous international websites and platforms.

In recent months, several representatives of the American government have visited China, most recently Trade Secretary Gina Raimondo. The focus of these visits has been on trade conflicts, particularly those revolving around technology issues.

Parallel zu Raimondos Besuch startete Huawei den Verkauf eines neuen Smartphones, das in China als Schlag gegen die US-Sanktionen gegen den Konzern und Chinas Halbleiterbranche gewertet wurde. Die darin verbauten Halbleiter sind deutlich fortschrittlicher, als viele Beobachter es für möglich gehalten hätten. In den Staatsmedien und den Sozialen Medien wurde das Handy als Zeichen chinesischer Stärke gefeiert.

The ban on iPhones is not the first of its kind. Tesla cars from the US manufacturer are not allowed on government or military premises in China, allegedly for security reasons. In the West, politicians have banned Huawei mobile phones or the TikTok app from government agencies.