Due to security concerns, China has banned federal agencies and ministries from purchasing MacBooks, iPads and other Apple products, according to a report in Bloomberg, citing Chinese government officials. The ban applies only to purchases made by central and local agencies in China. Reportedly, it does not apply to regional governments or large enterprises.
The government has excluded 10 Apple devices, including iPads and MacBook laptops, from the government procurement list released in July, according to the report, although the information has not yet been made public. The ban does not apply to the Apple iPhone, however. China is Apple’s second-largest market after the U.S. Sales of the iPad in China grew 51 percent last quarter compared to the year before, while sales of the Mac increased by 39 percent during the same period.
U.S. Firms Under Scrutiny
The move is the latest in a series of steps by China to reduce the use of U.S. technology products over concerns about espionage and data security. The Chinese government had previously banned the purchase of antivirus software from Kaspersky Lab and Symantec, and removed Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system from the list of approved purchases. Last month, Chinese regulators raided Microsoft offices in Beijing, Liaoning, Fujian and Hubei as part of an antitrust investigation.
"Microsoft should strictly abide by Chinese laws and may not interfere in any way [to] hinder investigation of the case, to ensure an objective and impartial investigation of the case,“ noted a statement from the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC), a Chinese regulator.
Other U.S. technology suppliers, including Dell and Hewlett-Packard, remain on the list of approved products for government purchases.
NSA Fallout Continues
Apple has been successful in getting China’s three largest carriers to offer the iPhone. Although the iPhone has not been banned, it has come under closer scrutiny in that country after a Chinese researcher published a study saying that the smartphone could present a potential national security threat due to the way the iPhone’s Frequent Locations feature tracks users’ locations. State-run television officials have said the device is a threat to users’ privacy.
China will not update its list of approved suppliers until January 2015, meaning that Apple won’t be able to sell to customers in the Chinese government for at least the next six months, at best.
Around 16 percent of Apple’s total revenues in the last quarter came from sales to China. Following revelations by Edward Snowden last year that the National Security Agency had infiltrated many U.S. technology companies to spy on their clients, China announced in May that it would begin vetting its technology suppliers for possible national security vulnerabilities.
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Posted: 2014-08-06 @ 5:44pm PT
@Mike: You are correct. Lenovo is a Chinese company, not U.S. We have made that correction. Thanks for the catch.
Posted: 2014-08-06 @ 5:39pm PT
The NSA = Apple, Cisco Systems, IBM , MircroSoft, Dell Computer.....
No secret now that NSA employees work at all these American companies, they have access to software, hardware, and procurement.
Posted: 2014-08-06 @ 5:38pm PT
Isn't Lenovo a Chinese company? Correction.
dung cha ping:
Posted: 2014-08-06 @ 5:32pm PT
Apple should move all manufacturing out of China.
Posted: 2014-08-06 @ 5:25pm PT
Oh cool, I didn't know China was working on propping up a successor to Apple. Best of luck to them in their efforts to "Baidu" a luxury brand.
Posted: 2014-08-06 @ 4:58pm PT
I still have not heard from any reporting source whether the Chinese government's issue is for the security of individual Chinese or for Chinese government agencies, to protect what it calls State Secrets. Can the location of a phone be transmitted to a receiver and thus give away the location of a site the Government does not want to reveal?