Did China Drop Apple From Government Purchase List?

A Bloomberg report indicates Chinese government officials will no longer be able to purchase a wide range of Apple products using government funds.

Did China Drop Apple From Government Purchase List?
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A new report indicates government officials in China won't get their hands on the latest iPad.

Bloomberg cites anonymous officials within the Chinese government who say China left a wide range of Apple products off its latest government-approved procurement list.

That means the iPad, iPad Mini, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro are off-limits for purchase with public funds. Notably, says Bloomberg, none of Apple's smartphones are so restricted.

It's not clear what impact this would have on Apple's performance in the Chinese market. Bloomberg's data indicates Apple cleared $37.4 billion in revenue last quarter — and 16 percent, or nearly $6 billion, came from China.

But a writer at Computerworld notes most of Apple's movement is in the private sector. "With Apple's sales strength in the consumer market, not the commercial, the impact of the procurement change may be minimal."

That said, industry watchers believe China is nonetheless sending a message — which could be one or two different things.

First is plain old market competition. Ars Technica characterized the procurement list as "antagonistic" to foreign companies.

And in a report from June of this year, The New York Times quotes Chinese President Xi Jinping explaining the government is pressing for a focus on local industry. "Only if core technologies are in our own hands can we truly hold the initiative in competition and development."

Some writers are also pointing to themes beyond mere state competition — to evidence the NSA's surveillance practices and back-and-forth accusations of hacking have blunted China's appetite for U.S. tech.

That is, if the report is accurate. Shortly after Bloomberg published, Chinese outlet Caixin ran a counter piece, which claimed Bloomberg's sources had it wrong — the procurement list was in fact an opt-in list of energy-saving companies and devices.

Caixin claims Apple simply neglected to submit the necessary paperwork for inclusion, which outlets stateside point out would make this less subtle surveillance-propelled market manipulation and more a filing error.

Bloomberg's report — which has yet to be changed — indicates the procurement list won't be reviewed again until January. Apple, for its part, declined to comment.

This video includes images from Getty Images.