China could replace all foreign tech with homegrown products

19 Dec 2014

China may be planning a huge purge of foreign technology from the country’s banks, military operations, state-owned enterprises and government agencies.

That’s according to Bloomberg sources who say the move, which could be completed by 2020, is being made to boost Chinese suppliers.

The anonymous sources also revealed that tests have taken place in the northeastern city of Siping, where workers replaced Microsoft’s Windows OS with the homegrown NeoKylin. Foreign servers were also swapped for hardware built by China’s Inspur Group. The tests were deemed a success.

Last year’s exposure of mass surveillance programmes orchestrated by the US National Security Agency (NSA) and the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) is said to be part of China’s motivation to use less foreign tech. At the first ever World Internet Conference in Wuzhen last month, the country called on the “international community to work together to build an international internet governance system of multilateralism, democracy and transparency and a cyberspace of peace, security, openness and co-operation”.

The move could have major repercussion for US-based companies including Cisco, IBM, Intel and Hewlett-Packard. They may, however, be able to avoid a total freeze out if they share their core technology or give China’s security inspectors access to their products to prove they are safe and controllable.

In the consumer tech realm, China did earlier this year lift a ban on foreign-made gaming machines that saw the launch of the Xbox. The ban came into force in 2000 following parental outcry surrounding the potential mental-health effects of gaming on children

Made in China image via Shutterstock

Dean Van Nguyen was a contributor to Silicon Republic