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China’s Widening Restrictions on the Use of iPhones
China’s widening restrictions on the use of iPhones by state employees have rattled Apple and other US technology stocks, as investors fretted over the financial impact of rising Sino-American tensions on companies with large China exposure.
The Wall Street Journal stated on Wednesday that Beijing has told employees at some central government agencies to stop using their Apple phones at work. The move is seen as a way for China to protect its national security, as Apple’s strict privacy rules make it difficult for anti-corruption officials to access and investigate suspects’ phones.
Apple’s shares fell more than 3% on Thursday, and other US tech stocks also took a hit. Qualcomm, which supplies chips to Apple, fell 7.2%.
The widening iPhone restrictions are the latest sign of rising tensions between China and the United States. The two countries have been engaged in a trade war for more than a year, and the Trump administration has also executed sanctions on Chinese tech companies.
The iPhone is one of Apple’s popular products, and it generates billions of dollars in income for the company. The widening restrictions could hurt Apple’s sales in China, which is its second-largest market.
It is unclear how far China will go with its iPhone restrictions. Some analysts believe that the government may eventually ban the use of iPhones by all government employees. Others believe that the restrictions may be limited to certain agencies or departments.
The widening iPhone restrictions are a reminder of the challenges that US tech companies face in China. The Chinese government is increasingly assertive in its efforts to protect its national security. And this could lead to further restrictions on foreign technology companies.
It leftovers to be seen how Apple will respond to the widening iPhone restrictions. The company could try to work with the Chinese government to find a way to meet its security concerns without harming its business. Or, it could decide to withdraw from the Chinese market altogether.
The outcome of this state will have a significant impact on Apple and the US technology sector. It will also be a test of the strength of the US-China relationship.