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Apple's market capitalization plummeted by $200 billion in two days following reports that China has banned public employees from using iPhones in central government institutions.

The US newspaper The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) claimed that employees working in government-affiliated institutions and organizations in China were instructed not to use Apple's iPhone smartphones and other foreign brands for work and not to bring them to work.

The newspaper, citing "sources familiar with the matter", reported that in recent weeks, public employees have received instructions from their superiors in workplace meetings and message groups.

The article, which pointed out that it was not known how widespread the instruction was, stated that similar warnings were given to the staff of some regulatory agencies affiliated with the government.

The measure is considered to be part of the Beijing administration's recent efforts to reduce foreign dependence on technology and increase cyber security.

It is noteworthy that China's steps come after similar bans imposed by the US on Chinese technology company Huawei and social media platform TikTok.

MARKET LEADER

Despite the tensions between the US and China, Apple has the largest share in smartphone sales in China with 22 percent.

The company, which manufactures a significant portion of its smartphones in China through subcontractors, generates 19 percent of its revenue from the Chinese market.

Bank of America estimates that China accounts for about 50 million of Apple's annual iPhone sales and that such a ban could cost Apple 5-10 million units a year.

While there was no official statement from the Chinese government, Apple declined to comment on the issue.