Hong Kong– Amid the escalating rivalry between the US and China, the Xi Jinping government has reportedly barred officials from using Apple iPhones at work, the media reported on Wednesday.

Beijing has instructed some government staff to stop using iPhones through chat groups or meetings, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

Apple relies heavily on Greater China region for both manufacturing and sales of its iPhones and has a major chunk of its product manufacturing in the country amid its future plans to make India the next big manufacturing hub.

“Restrictions on foreign devices are the latest step in Beijing’s campaign to reduce reliance on overseas technology and could hurt Apple’s success in the country,” the report noted.

China apparently ordered officials at central government agencies not to use Apple’s iPhones and other foreign-branded devices for work or bring them into the office.

The move is a blow to Apple’s public perception in China which is its second-biggest market after the US. 

Apple didn’t immediately comment on the development.

According to the company’s latest quarterly results, the Greater China region — Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan — contributed to nearly 19 per cent of the revenue in the June quarter.

According to the the IDC, 65.7 million smartphones shipped in China in the second quarter (Q2) this year, a narrower decline of 2.1 per cent compared to the same period last year. 

In the first half of the year, the Chinese market saw 130.9 million shipments, down 7.3 per cent year-on-year (YoY).

Huawei and Apple were the only vendors with a positive YoY growth in the Top 5 ranking, as the price discounts of Apple’s iPhone 14 series successfully stimulated the demand in the country. (IANS)