China has made the decision to drop the world’s top technology firms for state approved purchases, replacing them with locally manufactured products.
Many believe that this move by the Chinese government is a reaction to revelations surrounding cyber-surveillance activities coordinated by the West, while others say it is a push to drive the country’s domestic technology sector against strong international competition.
“The Snowden incident [has] become a real concern, especially for top leaders,” said Tu Xinquan, associate director of the China Institute of WTO Studies, University of International Business and Economics, Beijing. “In some sense the American government has some responsibility for that; [China’s] concerns have some legitimacy.”
The new purchase lists have particularly damaged leading tech firms such as the American multinational Cisco Systems over the past few years. The network equipment maker supplied 60 products on the Central Government Procurement Centre’s (CGPC) list in 2012, but two years later listed none.
Other technology giants including Apple, McAfee, Intel and Citrix have now all joined Cisco in the pile of brands rejected by China.
The number of products listed for central government procurement increased by over 2,000 in just two years, and currently hovers below 5,000 items due to the jump in domestic suppliers.
A spokesperson for the procurement agency announced that there were many factors behind the final decision to favour local producers, such as the sheer number of products required. The official also added that domestic security firms were able to offer more product guarantees than their international counterparts.
According to the research firm IDC, the decision to change the CGPC list forms part of a wider step to ensure Chinese tech organisations receive a bigger chunk of the national information and communications technology market, which experts predict will grow 11.4% to approximately £300bn ($465.6bn) this year.