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Beijing Bans iPhone 6, Saying It’s Too Similar to Chinese Phone

Intellectual property regulators in Beijing have barred Apple from selling models of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in the city, citing strong similarity to an existing Chinese phone.

Apple said it is appealing the ruling.

"IPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus as well as iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus and iPhone SE models are all available for sale today in China," Apple said in a statement Friday. "We appealed an administrative order from a regional patent tribunal in Beijing last month and as a result the order has been stayed pending review by the Beijing IP Court."

A woman holds up the iPhone 6 Plus at the Apple Store in Tokyo
A woman holds up the iPhone 6 Plus at the Apple Store at Tokyo's Omotesando shopping district September 19, 2014. REUTERS/Yuya Shino

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier Friday that some stores stopped selling the phones months ago and are switching to newer models. Apple will soon end production of the banned iPhone 6 models, a person familiar with the production plans told the Journal.

For now, all Apple products are for sale in China, sources told CNBC.

The regulator's decision is another speed bump for Apple in its largest market outside of the U.S., the Journal said. Struggling iPhone sales in the country were a major factor in the tech giant's quarterly decline posted in April, the first in more than a decade.

Read More From CNBC: Here's the Chinese Company Claiming Apple Ripped Off Its Patent

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn sold his position in Apple after the company's disappointing earnings, telling CNBC recently that China's attitude toward Apple drove him to exit his position.

"You worry a little bit — and maybe more than a little — about China's attitude," Icahn told CNBC, adding that China's government could "come in and make it very difficult for Apple to sell there."

China also shut down Apple's iBooks and iTunes movies service in April, as regulators said the company did not have the appropriate licenses, people familiar with the matter told the Journal.

Apple was down 1.7 percent in early trading Friday.

— CNBC's Josh Lipton contributed to this report.