Has the Chinese Government Banned Apple Products?

A recent report, which came in from Bloomberg in early August, speaks of how the Chinese government banned Apple products for government use. In official terms, the Chinese Commission for National Development and Reform allegedly told the international press that Apple hardware was off-limits for the country’s government institutions. Now, the report itself caused massive controversy, both in terms of responses from the parties involved, as well as from the media. Check out the way the story unfolded, from the report itself to the reactions issued by Apple and the Chinese government.

Apple has made official statements to explain that it never did intend to make the procurement lists drawn up by the Chinese government, in press releases to Reuters. China drew up several procurement lists for various types of electronics and hardware, among which stands a procurement list for products especially designed to save energy. The representatives of the Chinese government said that Apple never did submit the documentation required by official standards, in order to make the list. However, in response, Apple stated in never planned on making the list anyway. The comment from the company was sent out to the media in an email, which reads as follows:

“Even though Apple has the certification for energy-saving products… it has never provided the necessary verification material and agreements according to the regulations,” said a Finance Ministry fax sent to Reuters on Thursday evening, a statement closely mirrored by the Central Government Procurement Centre in their own announcement on Friday.”

Bloomberg criticized for misinformed report

According to subsequent reports, the news that Chinese government banned Apple products is completely unfounded. In fact, many rushed to criticize Bloomberg for putting out material that was solely designed as click baiting. Government institutions in China are still free to buy Apple products for official use, even if they’re not featured on that list of products that save energy. The official list of approved products can be found on the site of the Central Government Procurement Center; of course, the scandal was not helped by the fact that this website experienced some temporary downtime last week, right around the time of the ban reports. It was later revealed that the site had gone offline simply for some routine adjustments in price.

As many tech and IT commenters rushed to note, Apple cannot afford losing out on a market as large and fruitful as China. Despite a noticeable slowdown in economic increase, China is still a market where Apple has ample room to expand – and, by all counts, it seems to be doing just this. At the moment, Apple has eleven retail location in China, as well as three agreements for partnership with the country’s biggest carriers for wireless. Among them stands China Mobile, a massive network and the country’s biggest, by number of subscribers.

The original report, published by Bloomberg, claimed that ten popular Apple products, among which MacBooks and iPads had been taken off the list of approved products by the Chinese government. Apple has declined to issue any further comments on the report, but did mention that their products were never included on the list. Several suppliers of parts, which refused to disclose their names for fear of losing out on lucrative deals with the Chinese government, explained that the downtime of the Central Procurement Center site was absolutely normal. The same supplier representatives also explained that they didn’t believe the downtime could be chalked up to concerns regarding national security. As of the writing of this article, the most popular Apple product for sale on the government website was a particular laptop model, which had been bought 23 times over the course of 24 hours.

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