Apple iPads, MacBooks excluded from government procurement list as U.S. – China relations worsen over cyber-security

7 August 2014, 7:09 am EDT By Alexandra Burlacu Mobile & Apps

China has reportedly excluded several Apple devices from the final version of a government purchase list over security concerns, according to a new report.

The relationship between China and the U.S. is already rocky as it is, with various security concerns making things worse. The latest news now claims that China has decided to ban a number of Apple devices from government purchases.

According to Bloomberg, China excluded no less than ten Apple products from its government procurement list, including the iPad, iPad Mini, MacBook Air, and MacBook Pro.

"China's government excluded Apple Inc. iPads and MacBook laptops from the list of products that can be bought with public money because of security concerns, according to government officials familiar with the matter," Bloomberg reports.

These products were reportedly included in a June version of the list in question, along with other products from Dell and HP. The June list was reportedly drafted by the National Development and Reform Commission along with the Ministry of Finance, the officials told Bloomberg, asking not to be identified because the information is not public. The list distributed in July, however, no longer had these products. The current list still awaits reviewing in January next year.

Apple is the latest tech company from the U.S. to be excluded from Chinese government purchases. As the relationship between China and the U.S. worsens over accusations of hacking and cyber-spying, Apple joins Symantec Corp., Kaspersky Lab, and Microsoft on the list of companies pushed aside by the Chinese government.

"When the government stops the procurement of products, it sends a signal to corporates and semi-government bodies," Mark Po, an analyst with UOB Kay Hian Ltd. In Hong Kong, further explained to Bloomberg. "The Chinese government wants to make sure that overseas companies shouldn't have too much influence in China."

This decision to omit Apple products from government procurement lists will most likely deal a heavy blow to Apple. The company drew about 16 percent of its $37.4 billion in revenue last quarter from Greater China. Moreover, iPad sales had increased by 51 percent and Mac sales by 39 percent in the world's biggest market, Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed back in July.

The growing tensions between the U.S. and China are also a result of Edward Snowden's leaks from last year, which revealed sensitive matters regarding a National Security Agency (NSA) spying program. Things escalated even further recently, when news surfaced in May that U.S. prosecutors had indicted five Chinese military officers for allegedly stealing corporate secrets, thus adding more fuel to the fire.

At this rate, tensions between the two countries over cyber-security are only amplifying, and tech companies are caught in the middle as collateral damage.

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