Chinese government agencies across eight provinces instructed employees to avoid using non-domestic handsets when on duty, with Bloomberg reporting the move marks a widening effort by officials to promote local brands amid a trade war with the US.

The news agency did not identify the source.

The country seems to have avoided making a directive to not bring iPhones and Samsung models to work official policy, with various government departments and state-owned companies issuing verbal instructions.

Bloomberg wrote it is not clear how widespread the practice is across China.

Following reports in September China banned the use of iPhones for some official business, its Foreign Ministry representative declared the government had not restricted the use of non-Chinese branded smartphones.

The crackdown on overseas brands comes as the US tightens restrictions on Huawei and the country’s semiconductor manufacturers’ access to advanced chips and equipment.

Apple’s market share in China fell 1.1 percentage points year-on-year in Q3 to 14.2 per cent, with sales down 10 per cent, data from Counterpoint Research showed. The overall market fell 3 per cent.

China accounted for 19.3 per cent of Apple’s total revenue in fiscal Q3 2023 (running 2 April to 1 July).