Beijing has reportedly ordered officials working for central government agencies to stop using iPhones or any other foreign devices for work or bringing them into the office, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter.
Several government employees told the outlet that they had been given these instructions by superiors in recent weeks via workplace chat groups and in-person meetings.
While government officials at some agencies had already been barred from using iPhones for years, the latest order seems to have significantly expanded the reach of the policy. However, the WSJ noted that it was unclear exactly how widely the orders were distributed but similar messages were also being communicated to employees at some central government regulatory agencies.
Neither Apple nor China’s State Council Information Office have yet confirmed the move or responded to requests for comment on the matter, the WSJ said.
The apparent move comes as China has been taking steps to cut its reliance on foreign technology in the interest of strengthening cybersecurity and preventing leaks of sensitive information outside the country.
In February, Beijing also demanded that multinational companies working in China, including the likes of Apple, Amazon, and JPMorgan Chase, must submit their data practices for audit before being allowed to export any locally generated data outside the country.