Chinese government officials have been reportedly prohibited from using Apple's iPhones while at work, in a move that is seen to further escalate the tech rivalry between the US and China.
The ban also adds a new impediment to Apple's operations in one of its most significant markets, where its flagship product, the iPhone, is widely popular.
The Wall Street Journal has disclosed that the Chinese government has implemented a new directive barring the use of Apple iPhones and other foreign technology gadgets within its governmental agencies.
Consequently, employees are prohibited from using such devices for official purposes or even carrying them into the workplace premises.
This represents a noteworthy extension of Beijing's enduring policy, which is designed to reduce dependence on foreign technology in response to cybersecurity concerns originating from abroad.
The decision is said to form part of a broader measure taken by the Chinese government to control access to information.
This serves to create a unified front against possibilities of US surveillance in the wake of ongoing data and security-related disputes.
The move is not seen as surprising considering the recent, deliberate steps China has been taking to self-insulate its tech and information landscape.
Apple hasn't commented on the restriction yet. The ban could lead to a transition from the iPhone to locally manufactured phones.
Furthermore, this move indicates the extent of the widening rift between the US and China in the technology sector. It serves to emphasize China's growing efforts to reduce its reliance on foreign technology and fortify its homegrown tech sector, amid increasing geopolitical tensions.
Notably, the ban could also impact US-China relations in the broader context of trade and economics.
The two countries have continually sparred over issues relating to technology, cybersecurity, and private-sector operations within their borders.