Apple iPhone 6 and 6 Plus still available in China despite ban

Apple has said that its iPhone 6 and 6 Plus will continue to be available for sale in China. The smartphones were earlier banned under the pretext that the US company had copied designs for the said models from a patent held by a Chinese company.

According to Apple, they appealed for an administrative order with the Beijing Patent Tribunal, which was accepted, causing a stay on the ban until a further ruling by the Beijing IP court. The ban was served to Apple through a Chinese Government Portal on May 19, which banned the sales of some models of the iPhone in Beijing.

The ban was brought about due to an infringement complaint against the US company by Shenzhen Baili, a local electronics manufacturer in China. Both the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus largely resemble the 100C phone by the local manufacturer. While the concern is small and there are a number of other iPhone look-alikes in China, it says Apple can have a tough time in the market that it relies on a lot.

Although the ruling imposed a ban on the 2014 models of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, there was no ruling against the newer 2015 models of the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus which were based on the very same design as their predecessors.

This tells Apple that they are liable to scrutiny from the Chinese Government like other US smartphone manufacturers have faced repeatedly in the past. Analyst Colin Gillis of BGC Partners explains that one of the risks of depending on the Chinese market for prime business is Government intervention, like with the case right now.

Apple largely depends on China for its smartphone sales after the US, and banning the sales of iPhones in China would give Apple a hard blow. Apple announced last month that it would invest $1 billion in Didi Chuxing, a ride-hailing service in China. Speculation suggests that the move was in part so Apple could mend relations with China.

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