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WASHINGTON: China has ordered officials at central government agencies not to use Apple’s iPhones and other foreign-branded devices for work or bring them into the office, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter.

The orders were given by superiors to their staff in recent weeks and while it wasn’t clear how widely the orders were being distributed, the WSJ said. The report did not name other phonemakes besides Apple. China’s State Council Information Office could not be immediately reached for comment and Apple did not immediately respond to a Reuters’ request for comment.

China has in recent years grown more concerned over data security and has rolled out new laws and compliance requirements for companies.

In May, the country had urged big state-owned enterprises (SOEs) to play a key role in its drive to attain self-reliance in technology, raising the stakes in the race amid rifts with the United States.

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