Beijing’s expansion of its iPhone ban for government officials has sent shockwaves through the tech sector, with concerns that recent China-US tensions on Big Tech could weaken American tech firms.

Apple closed down at 2.9% on Thursday following the announcement China had banned government employees from using their products, Reuters reported.

Apple’s suppliers, Broadcom, Skyworks and Texas Instruments, all also closed lower.

Tensions between the US and China were reignited in January when the US ceased granting export licenses for China’s Huawei, following its addition to the US Entity List in 2019 – a list of foreign enterprises that pose national security risks and are subject to export restrictions.

Last week (31 August), the US redoubled its efforts to restrict China’s access to AI chips by expanding its export restrictions of NVIDIA H100 and A100 AI chips to the Middle East in an effort to curb China’s AI expansion.

China’s Huawei, however, made a crucial step towards self-sufficiency from US chips with the understated release of its Mate 60 Pro phone last week.

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By GlobalData

Mate 60 is powered by a Kirin 9000s chip, an advanced 7-nanometre processor. The processor was manufactured domestically through Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp, according to tests by TechInsights.

Embattled by the pandemic and trade restrictions, Huawei stated that it was operating in “survival mode” in 2020, which continued for the next three years.

The company’s business revenue peaked at $67bn in 2020 but almost halved in 2021.

China has responded to the US sanctions by curbing shipments from planemaker Boeing and chipmaker Micron.