Apple Products Not Formally Banned By China

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A report earlier this week claimed China banned Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s products from being used by government agencies, however, a new report today claims it isn’t as bad as originally said. Caixin, a Chinese language publication, reports that Apple simply isn’t on a list of energy-saving products that are approved for agencies to buy using public money.

Apple’s ban in China not as bad as thought

According to Caixin, the fact that Apple isn’t on that list isn’t anything close to a formal ban. Instead, a source reportedly told the publication that the exclusion might be a filing error. And just because Apple’s devices aren’t the list, it doesn’t mean that Chinese government agencies can’t buy them. The only thing that matters is that agencies follow fair bidding practices.

Currently it’s unclear just why Apple isn’t on the list. However, Chinese officials are said to be looking into it. Caixin suggests that the proper documents that demonstrate how Apple’s devices meet the government’s standards for energy efficiency were simply not filed. That would mean the company was never even considered to be part of that list.

Concerns about Apple security

On Wednesday, Bloomerg reported that unnamed officials with the Chinese government said the reason Apple wasn’t on their procurement list was due to security concerns. Because of the vast market China represents, the suggestion that the Chinese government might not trust Apple devices could weigh heavily on the company’s sales there. Corporations and businesses in China often follow the government’s lead when it comes to buying devices with trusted security in place.

This week’s report stated that Apple was initially on the procurement list published in June but was then removed before the final list was published and distributed the following month. At this point, it’s unclear whether the procurement list is a different list than the one that lists devices that are up to the Chinese government’s standards for energy efficiency. As a result, it might be possible that some government agencies in China would consider buying Apple products but others would not because of the exclusion from the energy efficiency list.

Not the first time Apple’s security was bashed in China

However, in early July, there was another report from Chinese state-run media officially saying that Apple products threaten national security. The iPhone is able to track and time-stamp the locations of its users, and officials in China say this poses a major threat to the country’s state secrets and economic situation.

It’s unclear whether the list from which Apple was included was distributed before or after the state-run media attack on the company’s security.

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