The report coincides with the release of the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in China on Friday. The country is seen as a key growth market for the Cupertino-based tech giant whose revenue in the region actually contracted by 3 percent in its fourth quarter, compared to the period before. The Apple devices are available through its own website along with deals via China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom.
Apple is already investigating a high-profile leak into several of its iCloud accounts in early September. Photos and videos of Hollywood stars were accessed and posted all over the web but Apple has blamed the incident on a targeted attack rather than a breach of any of its systems. In response it has announced it is to ramp up its security procedures and has included a two-step authentication security system when backing up files on its iCloud service.
GreatFire.org suggested that this latest incident may somehow be related to the ongoing Hong Kong protests which has involved participants sharing videos and images using social media websites. It also drew attention to the fact that the latest iPhone products provide users with increased encryption technologies which it claims could have conflicted with its relationship with the Chinese authorities.
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Lawrence Lundy, an ICT strategy consultant at Frost & Sullivan, told CNBC in an interview that he was unsurprised by the reports and said that he believed that all technology firms had to work with the Chinese authorities to gain a foothold in an increasingly important growth market.
"It is unlikely that Apple knew about this explicitly," he said. "Apple must find a balance between continued growth in China and protecting their users' data. Clearly Apple and the Chinese governments have misaligned incentives, which may be behind the delays in launching the new iPhone in China."
—Additional reporting by CNBC's Arjun Kharpal.