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Government officials in China are now prohibited from using or even bringing their iPhones to work. Apple, nonetheless, is not the only company affected by this. According to The Wall Street Journal, the new policy also covers other smartphone brands from foreign companies.
The move is part of the Chinese government’s aim to reduce the country’s reliance on other countries for technology. For instance, the rise of ChatGPT prompted many Chinese firms to start their own AI chatbots and model projects in hopes of creating the perfect Chinese version of OpenAI’s work.
This also reflects the continuous concern of the country involving the privacy of sensitive information. As WSJ noted, China wants to limit foreign countries’ possible access to its government’s sensitive data, pushing it to resort to this decision.
The Asian country is not the only one to have the same issue. In July, Russia also started implementing the ban on iPhones for its government officials and employees due to espionage concerns, which particularly points to the United States. The ban followed the recent allegations by Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) that the US National Security Agency was the brain behind an iOS security flaw spotted by Russian security software maker Kaspersky Lab. Back in June, Apple introduced the iOS 16.5.1 update to fix the issue dubbed CVE-2023-32434.
China is not making the same particular claim pointing to Apple, but this ban could significantly impact the Cupertino giant’s influence in the Chinese market. To recall, China is one of the biggest iPhone markets for Apple. And although the ban is limited to government officials, the move could affect the brand’s image, resulting in possible customer behavior in the market.