Chinese officials have now boycotted hardware from some of the biggest western technology companies, such as Apple, Cisco and Intel’s Mcafee, removing the products from the state approved purchase lists. The reason is claimed to be that China’s government has cyber-security concerns over tech from foreign companies that could spy on China’s political, social and economic activities.
Chinese government bans Apple, Cisco, Intel and more
At the same time, the government has also approved thousands of local products, which might be a case of protectionism more than anything else because Chinese technology firms have found it hard to compete with foreign competition in the past.
The ban is said to promote growth of local manufacturers, helping them to get a better foothold in the global market. According to International Data Corporation (IDC), Chinese tech firms should see an 11.4% increase in China to around $456.6 billion in 2015. Furthermore, the number of products on the government approved list has already had more than 2000 products added in the last two years, mostly from local manufacturers.
Several years ago, it was former NSA agent Edward Snowden who highlighted the various global surveillance programs that had the support of telecoms companies and governments around Europe, which is what apparently triggered China into becoming paranoid over cyber surveillance.
TuXinQuan, a professor at the China Institute for WTO Studies at the University of International Business and Economics, said: “The Snowden incident, it’s become a real concern, especially for top leaders. In some sense the American government has some responsibility for that; (China’s) concerns have some legitimacy.”
A battle between China and the US
Over the past few years, there has been a constant battle between China and the US over cyber security, with each blaming each other for various hacking incidents. China has even accused Apple and Google of aiding the US government, and more recently, new security regulations are being imposed that means US companies have to use Chinese encryption algorithms, and even reveal source code to the government for inspection.
Let’s hope that the Chinese and US governments can work something out, because as it stands China is becoming increasingly dependent on its own inferior technology in many cases – and that may in fact make it more open to hacks and cyber crime in future.
Would you buy Chinese tech products? For example, would you buy a smartphone that runs a Chinese operating system? Let us know in the comments below what you make of the government ban on western tech products.