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China has not banned purchase, use of foreign phone brands, says foreign ministry

BEIJING – China has not issued a ban on the purchase and use of foreign phone brands, including Apple’s iPhone, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.

“China has not issued any laws, regulations and policy documents prohibiting the purchase and use of foreign brand smartphones, including iPhone,” said ministry spokesman Mao Ning at a regular news briefing when asked.

“We always have an open attitude towards foreign-funded enterprises,” she added.

Apple shares fell sharply last week following reports of significant Chinese restrictions on iPhones at government offices and state-backed entities.

The Wall Street Journal first reported that China had barred the use of Apple smartphones in central government agencies.

That was followed by a Bloomberg News story that China planned to expand the ban to government-backed agencies and state companies, broadening the effect of the policy in a centrally planned economy.

Reuters also reported China has in recent weeks widened existing curbs on the use of iPhones by state employees, telling staff at some central government agencies to stop using Apple’s flagship phone at work, two sources familiar with the matter said. But Ms Mao said on Wednesday that China “treats both domestic and foreign-funded enterprises in the same way and on an equal footing”.

“The Chinese government attaches a great importance to information and cyber security,” she added. REUTERS, BLOOMBERG

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