China orders officials to remove foreign tech from computers

09 Décembre, 2019, 20:45 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • Financial Times China microsfot dell

The Chinese government has ordered all of its institutions and agencies to start replacing all foreign-made equipment, computers and software with domestically-produced products, the Financial Times reported.

The US has also blacklisted other Chinese technology firms implicated in human rights abuses of Muslim minorities in China's Xinjiang region.

The government under President Xi Jinping has been trying for years to replace technologies from overseas, and particularly from the United States.

The move is likely a response to the crackdown campaign the United States initiated against Chinese tech companies this year, specifically against Huawei.

The analysts noted that the order had come from the Chinese Communist party's Central Office earlier this year.

The newspaper said the goal is to use "secure and controllable" technology as part of the country's Cyber Security Law passed in 2017. In 2021, another 50% will have to be replaced, and in 2022, the final 20% of the foreign equipment and software tools inventory must be discarded. "Chinese people will no longer have any illusions about the steady use of U.S. technology". The employees asked to remain anonymous as the information was politically sensitive.

But unlike previous pushes for self-sufficiency in technology, recent U.S. sanctions have added urgency to the project, said Paul Triolo of consultancy Eurasia Group.

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"China's 3-5-2 programme is just the tip of the new spear", said Mr Triolo.

Targets Chinese buyers to switch to domestic technology vendors.

For now private Chinese companies, which form the bulk of Microsoft's Chinese revenue, are not affected, but this could easily change.

The pace of replacement is ambitious.

Last month, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted unanimously to designate Huawei and ZTE - another Chinese telecom firm - as national security risks.

The policy actually started being developed before the current trade war between the US and China started, first after Edward Snowden's revelations and then with China's cybersecurity law passed in 2017, which further restricted government agencies from buying foreign software and hardware tools. Most software developers make products compatible with US -made operating systems, for example Apple's macOS and Microsoft's Windows, Financial Times suggested.

The policy - which reportedly affects both hardware and software - could strike a big blow to American tech companies such as Microsoft, HP and Dell. As the Guardian points out, Lenovo is based in China, but parts of its devices, including processors and hard drives, are made by American companies. When it comes to private companies, "let's see what the government orders are - they will not proactively want to substitute, since the investment is high", the analyst added.

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