China has not banned the sale of Apple products in the country after earlier reports had claimed it had banished certain items due to national security concerns.
Bloomberg reported on Wednesday that 10 Apple products, including certain models of the MacBook and iPad, were taken off an approved hardware list put together by the government due to concerns over security.
The Central Government Procurement Centre [CGPC], finance ministry and Apple all stated that the company never applied to be on the list in the first place and the current confusion involves the list of energy-saving products – another list that Apple claims it has never applied to be on.
"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 finance ministry fax sent to Reuters on Thursday evening that was followed by a similar statement from the CGPC.
It added that the government can still buy Apple products even though they aren’t on the approved list and the products didn’t even go off sale, apart from a brief period on Thursday when they were suspended for a monthly price adjustment.
A number of suppliers, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told Reuters that price adjustments were normal and that they didn’t believe the stoppages had anything to do with a national security issue.
Apple’s procurement problems come at a time of heightened tension in relation to US technology companies in China. Microsoft has been the subject of an anti-monopoly probe and the central procurement agency has delisted Symantec and Kaspersky products due to security concerns.
Chinese suspicions arose in the wake of revelations made by Edward Snowden of US-based firms having backdoor surveillance tools built into hardware shipped to China in order to carry out spying. From its side of the fence, the US decided to arrest a number of Chinese military officers for extensive industrial espionage.
China is one territory that Apple is still looking to crack and any action by the government to stop its products could have a drastic effect on its future profits.