Apple Inc. experienced its most significant stock decline in a month following reports that Chinese government agencies have instructed their staff not to use iPhones for work purposes.
According to sources cited by The South China Morning Post, these directives were issued in August to employees at ministries focusing on investment, trade, and international affairs. Importantly, these usage restrictions were not applied to all government ministries, and they exclusively targeted iPhones designed in California without affecting other smartphones from foreign brands.
Some central government agency employees reportedly received instructions through chat groups and meetings to refrain from bringing iPhones into the office, as The Wall Street Journal reported, citing insiders.
Apple’s shares fell 3.6 percent to $182.91 in New York on Wednesday, marking the most significant single-day drop since August 4. Before this decline, Apple had seen a 46 percent gain in its stock value this year, part of a broader surge in tech stocks.
Despite growing tension between the US and China in the tech industry, Apple remains widely popular in China, its largest international market. Apple’s iPhones are among the bestsellers in the country and are commonly used in both government and private sectors.
However, sensitive government agencies in China have long discouraged using foreign-made devices, particularly as Beijing has intensified its efforts in recent years to reduce reliance on US technology.
In 2022, Beijing ordered central government agencies and state-backed corporations to replace foreign-branded personal computers with domestic alternatives within two years as part of an aggressive campaign to reduce dependence on overseas technology.
While tensions persist, Apple continues to rely heavily on China as a manufacturing partner and a significant market for its products. CEO Tim Cook acknowledged the importance of this relationship during a visit to China earlier in the year, describing it as “symbiotic.”
China also played a crucial role in Apple’s recent quarterly results, helping offset a sluggish period. The company is preparing to unveil its latest iPhones in the coming week, setting the stage for the holiday quarter, which traditionally marks its most significant sales period.