Following allegations that employees of the Chinese government have been prohibited from using iPhones, shares of Apple have dropped for the second trading day in a row.
In the previous two days, the company’s stock market worth has decreased by more than 6%, which is equivalent to approximately $200 billion (£160 billion).
The global technology giant’s third-largest market is China, which contributed 18% of the company’s overall income in the previous year.
It is also the location where the majority of Apple’s goods are built by Foxconn, the company’s largest supplier.
On Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported that Beijing has instructed personnel working for central government agencies to refrain from bringing iPhones into the workplace or using them for work-related purposes.
The next day, Bloomberg News reported that the ban may also be imposed on employees working for state-owned enterprises and agencies that are supported by the government.
According to sources who spoke with the WSJ, the directive to refrain from using iPhones was sent to officials by their superiors over the past few weeks. Additional restrictions were enforced on gadgets branded with foreign manufacturers.
According to the report, several government agencies had already prohibited the use of iPhones, but the paper’s sources believed that the prohibition had been expanded.
There has been a lack of transparency regarding the extent to which those orders were disseminated throughout the Chinese officialdom.
The reports emerged just a few days before the introduction of the iPhone 15, which is currently scheduled to take place on September 12th.
People who say they work for state-owned enterprises in China have taken to social media in that country to report that they have been ordered to stop using Apple products by the end of September. One of them made a joke about how they were broke and could not afford to get a new phone, and they pondered aloud, “What should I use for work?”
China is one of Apple’s most important markets, and the company manufactures iPhones there. However, in recent years, Apple has been increasing its output in India.
There has been no public response from the Chinese government in the form of an official statement in response to the reports.
A request for comment from the BBC was not immediately met with a response from Apple.
The domino effect
Apple’s current valuation on the stock market is about $2.8 trillion, making it the most valuable company in the world.
Not only have Apple’s share prices dropped, but so have those of a number of the company’s vendors.
On Thursday, shares of Qualcomm, which is the largest supplier of smartphone processors in the world, fell by more than 7%, and on Friday, shares of SK Hynix, which is based in South Korea, fell by almost 4%.
The United States and China have seen a steady rise in tensions regarding technological issues, with both countries imposing limitations on one another.
This year, the United States of America, together with its allies Japan and the Netherlands, implemented measures to limit China’s access to certain chip technologies.
As a form of retaliation, China has placed restrictions on the export of two minerals that are critically important to the semiconductor sector.
According to recent reports, Beijing is also getting ready to launch a brand new investment fund with a total of forty billion dollars to help grow its chip manufacturing industry.
When Gina Raimondo, the Secretary of the United States Department of Commerce, was in Beijing last week, the Chinese tech giant Huawei surprised everyone by unveiling its new Mate 60 Pro smartphone.
On Friday, the business began taking preorders for the Pro+ variant of the phone it manufactures.
TechInsights, a technological research group based in Canada, reported that the phone had a brand new 5G Kirin 9000s CPU. This processor was developed for Huawei by SMIC, the largest contract chipmaker in China.
According to Dan Hutcheson, an analyst at TechInsights, this “demonstrates the technical progress China’s semiconductor industry has been able to make.”
According to a research note published by investment firm Jefferies, this is a “major technological achievement” for China.
This week, US congressman Mike Gallagher, who is the head of the House of Representatives committee on China, called on the Commerce Department to further restrict exports to Huawei and SMIC. SMIC is an acronym for Shenzhen Manufacturing Industry Corporation.
Update to the safeguards
In the meantime, Apple has responded to the discovery of a security flaw that is being exploited by unidentified hackers by releasing an emergency software update on Thursday that is compatible with a huge number of older and more recent devices.
After digital rights investigators at Citizen Lab uncovered that attackers were hacking Apple devices of specified targets using an innovative and unheard of technique, the update was published shortly afterward.
Both of these upgrades were released as part of Apple’s swift response to customer security concerns after the company discovered a “exploit” of a similar nature on its own.
This is the 15th time so far in 2018 that Apple has been compelled to release comprehensive security patches.