China hasn’t issued any laws or rules to ban the use of iPhones or any other foreign phone brand, a Chinese government spokesperson said on Wednesday.
“We have always been open to foreign companies and welcome them to seize the opportunities and share the fruits of China’s economic development,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Mao Ning said at a press conference in Beijing.
She added that China has noticed “many media reports on the security incidents of Apple’s iPhone,” and that the country “attaches great importance to information and cyber security.”
Mao did not elaborate. She also urged foreign cellphone companies in China to follow the country’s privacy laws and to prevent “any person or organization” stealing data stored in their customers’ phones.
An Apple Inc. store in Beijing, China, on Friday, Sept. 8, 2023.
Last week, The Wall Street Journal reported that China had banned the use of iPhones by central government officials, citing unnamed people familiar with the matter. The report triggered a drop in Apple’s shares — the stock suffered its largest daily loss in a month.
China is the largest foreign market for the company’s products, and Chinese sales represented about a fifth of the company’s total revenue last year. Apple hasn’t replied to a request for comment.
The company doesn’t disclose iPhone sales by country, but analysts at research firm TechInsights estimate that there were more iPhone sales in China than in the United States last quarter. Apple also produces the majority of its iPhones in Chinese factories.