China government never banned Apple products over national security concerns: Here's what happened


China is denying claims that it banned the use of iPhones, MacBooks and iPads by Chinese government workers.

The Chinese government says that the "ban" was not based on security issues, but was rather a misunderstanding. Apparently Apple products simply weren't included on a list of energy-efficient devices that government bodies look to when purchasing new devices. Despite this, China remains suspicious of American technology firms.

"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 fax sent from the Finance Ministry.

Despite not being included on the energy-saving products list, Chinese government officials can still buy Apple products, according to the Central Government Procurement Centre website.

A ban of Apple products in China would have a large impact on Apple, with Chinese consumers accounting for 16 percent of Apple's $37.4 billion in revenue last quarter.

Why Apple did not submit the necessary documents to make the list is a mystery, but authorities are investigating the matter.

The story originally broke Aug. 7 when sales of a number of Apple products halted for a monthly price adjustment. According to multiple suppliers, however, these price adjustments were routine, and were not related to security concerns.

"Every month we have one price adjustment to make sure the prices are aligned with market prices," said someone who is familiar with the procurement process in China. "We'll stop purchases and then restart after they're aligned."

Since sales returned Aug. 8, the MacBook Pro, Apple's most popular laptop, had been purchased 23 times within 24 hours. As is the case with a number of issues involving Chinese authorities, it is difficult to determine the real position of the Chinese government.

This news comes after Chinese regulators recently launched an antimonopoly probe into Microsoft. China also said in May that it would ban Microsoft's Windows 8 because of security concerns. Apple's iPhone does know certain things about its user, however Apple claims that it has never used this information or allowed governments to access the information located on its servers.

Allegations were made last month by China's state-run TV channel, saying that location-tracking features on Apple's products may be a security problem from Chinese consumers and government officials.

Suspicions between China and the United States have risen substantially over the past year after Edward Snowden leaked information revealing the U.S. government planted "backdoor" surveillance tools on U.S. hardware.

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