A customer tries out Huawei Mate 60 smartphone at a Huawei flagship store on September 4, 2023 in Shanghai, China.
Wang Gang/VCG via Getty Images)
A recent iPhone ban among Chinese state companies has office workers worried they may be next.Some fretted on social media that their firms might start banning iPhones to align with the mandate.While a blanket ban is not announced, some say their bosses already want them to stop using iPhones.
A growing ban on iPhones among Chinese state enterprises has office workers worried their employers might start jumping on an anti-Apple bandwagon.
While the central government has not officially announced such a ban, several state agencies and companies are ordering staff to stop bringing Apple devices to their offices, Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal reported.
Several employees told Bloomberg that China intends to roll out these restrictions to more state enterprises and government-associated organizations. The outlet did not name these people.
As news of the ban spread on Chinese social media last week, some office workers began fretting that their bosses might want them to stop using their iPhones too — amid online speculation without evidence that the US can spy on Chinese people through Apple devices.
Many aired their woes on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, which reveals if the poster is an iPhone user.
“Workplaces are not allowing Apple, so I bought a Redmi to dodge trouble,” wrote one Weibo user on Friday.
“Funny. Employers won’t allow the use of iPhones anymore. The phone I bought in 2018 still doesn’t lag at all. It’s just the battery that’s not durable. Changing to a new one is such a waste,” another iPhone user posted on Thursday.
“Offices don’t let you use Apple anymore. I hate this,” wrote another user on Friday.
Others reported that their companies have already told them to get another phone, though it’s not clear how many of these people work in state or private firms.
“My husband’s workplace doesn’t let him use Apple anymore out of fear of leaks. He’s required to get a local device,” wrote another, lamenting that she couldn’t find a Huawei Mate 60 Pro.
Another iPhone user said they’d queued to reserve a brand-new iPhone for work over the weekend. “And today I went to the office and heard that the company doesn’t let us use Apple phones anymore,” they wrote on Monday.
“I’m stretched thin even more because my income is not high,” wrote blogger Sister Ka, who said she could no longer use her iPhone at work. She also asked for recommendations for a second phone.
Meanwhile, Guangdong-based blog Digital Tech Boom admonished people complaining about the bans. “Confidential personnel usually have to have some sort of phone requirement. If you don’t like it, you can change your job,” the page wrote. “Lots of companies don’t care what phone you use.”
The true extent of the chilling effect of the rumored anti-iPhone mandate is still unclear. China had more than 56 million employees in 2021 across 150,000 state-owned firms, including energy companies, banks, and construction conglomerates, per CGTN.
But even among government bodies, individual agencies, and local authorities in China tend to interpret and enforce new guidelines to vastly varying degrees.
Nikkei reported that at least one state-related firm has started telling employees to stop using AirPods and Apple Watches at work, too.
Apple has recently been dominating the smartphone market in China, with iPhones making up a quarter of all mobile devices sold in the country in the last quarter of 2022, per Hong Kong research firm Counterpoint.