Contrary to reports in the popular media China has not banned its state agencies from procuring products made by Apple.
It was widely reported yesterday that Apple’s devices were left off the “shopping list” for state agencies who procure devices using public money. It was claimed that the devices had been kept off the list due to security concerns but apparently that’s not the case.
According to Caixin, a Chinese publication, a formal ban is not why Apple isn’t on that list. The real reason is actually quite different. The list in question includes devices that meet special energy saving requirements and Apple’s devices might not have made the cut simply due to a filing error. Authorities are now reportedly investigating the matter and it appears that the relevant documents showing that Apple’s devices meet those special standards may not have been filed, which is why the devices would not have been considered for the list.
Moreover Chinese state agencies that are not bound to adhere to these special energy saving practices can still purchase Apple’s products provided that the agencies follow fair bidding practices for suppliers. Even though there have been countless reports of mistrust between the government and Western companies, particularly in the wake of the NSA leaks, it doesn’t look like the People’s Republic is formally banning Apple products for government agencies.