China Denies Existence of Any Government Ban on Apple Products
A Bloomberg report claimed on Wednesday that 10 Apple products, including iPad, iPad Mini, MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, were taken off an approved hardware list issued in July by China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) due to security concerns.
However, China’s Central Government Procurement Centre (CGPC), the finance ministry, and Apple have all officially refuted the Bloomberg report saying that it was just a misunderstanding — the company never applied to be on the list in the first place, according to Reuters.
The current confusion involves a procurement list for energy-saving products, and is just one of the several similar lists issued by the Chinese government. The government officials said Apple has not submitted the necessary documents to be considered for this energy-saving products list. Later, Apple also confirmed in an emailed comment that it never intended to be on that particular list.
“Even though Apple has the certification for energy-saving products… it has never provided the necessary verification material and agreements according to the regulations,” the Finance Ministry said in a fax sent to Reuters on Thursday evening, which was followed by a similar statement from the CGPC on Friday.
It added that the government agencies are still free to purchase Apple products, even if they don’t appear on the energy-saving list. Many of the products mentioned in the supposed ban were available for purchase on the Central Government Procurement Centre website, though they were offline for a brief period late Thursday for a routine price adjustment. The website resumed the sale of Apple products as of Friday afternoon.
The speculation surrounding Apple’s procurement status reflects the heightened tension between the US technology companies and the Chinese government. Citing security concerns, China said in May it would ban Microsoft’s latest Windows 8 operating system, and then recently, the central procurement agency removed foreign anti-virus software vendors Symantec Corp and Kaspersky Lab.
China is a growing market for Apple where the company is rapidly expanding its retail business, and if the government takes any steps to ban its products, it could be a huge blow for the company in terms of their future sales.