Beijing has reportedly barred government officials from using iPhones or any other foreign-brand devices
Apple’s market value has fallen by nearly $200 billion after reports that China has banned government workers from using iPhones or any other foreign devices for work purposes, or bringing them into the office.
Shares in Apple fell almost 3% on Thursday and are down 6.4% over the last two days. Several major suppliers of the US tech giant have also seen their stocks plummet. Taiwan’s TSMC, the world’s biggest contract chipmaker and a major Apple supplier, has lost over 2%, while shares in ASE Technology Holding, one of the world’s largest semiconductor testing and packaging companies, slid 2%, and camera lens-maker Largan Precision saw a decline of more than 3%.
China, the largest foreign market for Apple products, could further expand its curbs on officials’ use of iPhones, according to Allen Huang, executive director of Mega International Investment Services Corp in Taipei, as cited by Reuters.Chinese sales represented about a fifth of Apple’s total revenue last year.
Government officials at some agencies had already been barred from using iPhones for years. The latest order seems to have significantly expanded the reach of the policy.
In February, Beijing also demanded that multinationals operating in China, including the likes of Apple, Amazon, and JPMorgan Chase, submit their data practices for audit before being allowed to export any locally generated data outside the country.
In the US, public officials have been banned from using Chinese phones from such brands as Huawei, or downloading and using the popular Chinese-owned TikTok social media app on their government-issued devices. Officials have raised concerns that Beijing could attempt to gain access to American users’ data.