The White House, which first addressed concerns about a Chinese backlash against Apple, said it is monitoring reports of a growing government ban on iPhones and believes the move is a retaliation against the US. From a report: “It appears to be part of the type of aggressive and inappropriate retaliation against U.S. companies that we have seen from the PRC in the past,” council spokesman John Kirby said, referring to the PRC. Bloomberg News reported this month that China plans to expand its ban on iPhone use to a plethora of state-backed companies and agencies, a sign of growing challenges for Apple in the country. Several Chinese agencies have started instructing their staff not to bring their iPhones to work.
But the situation became even murkier on Wednesday, as Beijing pushed back on reports of iPhone restrictions while raising concerns about security issues with the device. “China has not issued any laws or regulations to ban the purchase of phones from Apple or foreign brands,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said at a news conference in Beijing on Wednesday. It marked the government’s first comments on the issue, but did not appear to directly refer to a ban on the device in the workplace.