Ten Apple product models, including the iPad, iPad Mini, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, were on a June version of the government purchase list, initiated by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) – the country’s top planning body. However, they've disappeared in the July version, according to a Bloomberg report on Wednesday, citing an unnamed government official.
This change is due to security concerns, the official indicated, adding the decision applies to all central Party departments, government ministries and local government.
Dell and HP products are included on both June and July lists, the officials said. The next review for the list takes place in January, 2015, according to the report.
On July 11, state-owned China Central Television Station (CCTV) revealed in a report that Apple’s iPhone collects information on users' locations, which was in violation of their privacy. Even if a user turned off positioning functions, the smartphone was still able to record the user's information, according to the report. Apple, in a subsequent reply, rejected those claims.
This move follows China's enhanced scrutiny of foreign companies after Edward Snowden’s revelations of a National Security Agency spying program last year. The tension between China and the US on the security issue escalated this year when the latter prosecuted five Chinese military officers for allegedly stealing corporate secrets.
On Sunday, the state-owned People's Daily reported that the government’s procurement agency has excluded Symantec and Kaspersky from a list of security software suppliers.
A further report by People’s Daily indicated the five anti-virus software brands approved by the government procurement office, including Qihoo 360 Technology Co, Venustech, CAJinchen, Beijing Jiangmin and Rising, are all from China.
Citing data security concerns in May, China already announced a ban on the newest Microsoft operating system, which prohibits all computer products purchased by the central government from running the Windows 8 operating system. Local OS developers are thrilled at the news and believe the move presents an opportunity for them to seize more market share in the future.