The Chinese government plans to expand a ban on the use of iPhones to state firms and agencies.
China has put a ban in place to freeze out iPhones from all corners of the government, including agencies and state-owned companies, Bloomberg reports.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that China ordered officials at central government agencies not to use Apple's iPhones and other foreign-branded devices for work and to refrain from bringing them into the office, citing people familiar with the matter.
Further unidentified sources told Bloomberg that Beijing intends to extend that restriction far more broadly, including state-owned enterprises and other government-controlled organisations.
This could well be the latest blow in a series of events fueling the growing tension between the US and China, the world's two biggest technology providers. Analysts believe that it is a move to reduce the country's dependence on American technologies.
China is not only Apple’s biggest foreign market but also the company's global production base. Therefore, investors are worried about the future of the company which gets 20% of its revenue in China, the second biggest economy in the world.
This was quickly reflected in a sharp drop in Apple's share prices, which fell more than 3.5% on Wednesday.
Apple is also facing challenges in Europe
Apple is among the six large technology companies including Alphabet, Amazon and Meta that are facing legal obligations to change the way their popular services, such as messaging, social media, video-sharing and Internet browsers, are offered online.
The move is part of the Digital Markets Act and its aim is to regulate competition.