HONG KONG Retailers in more Chinese cities have been told by authorities to take the popular iPad tablet PCs off their shelves this week, media reports said on Thursday, due to a legal battle between a Chinese technology firm and Apple Inc over trademark issues.
Two major shopping malls in Shanghai's Xujiahui district have stopped ordering iPads, while cities such as Xuzhou in Jiangsu province and Qingdao in Shandong province have asked retailers to pull iPads from store shelves, said www.yicai.com, the website of finance-focused Chinese newspaper Diyi Caijing Daily.
The Xuzhou commerce office could not be immediately reached for comment on Thursday, while Shanghai's commerce office had no comment.
The Qingdao commerce department said it had not ordered any ban on iPad sales.
"Whether the retailers decide to stop sales or not is up to them. The government is not involved," the spokesman said.
The reports come days after authorities asked retailers in another city near Beijing, Shijiazhuang, to stop selling iPads.
Proview Technology (Shenzhen) Co Ltd, a unit of Proview International Holdings has asked authorities in more than 30 cities to stop the sales.
Amazon in China has also been reported to have stopped online iPad sales, but a company executive said it was due to a supply shortage and not related to the trademark lawsuit.
On Tuesday, lawyers representing Proview Technology (Shenzhen) said the company would seek a ban on exports of iPads from mainland China, and authorities in some Chinese cities had ordered retailers to stop selling Apple's iPad.
(Reporting By Sisi Tang; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)