The Chinese Government has ordered all government offices and public institutions to stop using foreign-made hardware and software within three years (a decision that will require the replacement of up to 30 million pieces of equipment).
The order is not public but was described to American reporters by employees from cybersecurity firms who heard about it from clients.
The directive, which comes as President Trump ramps up efforts to keep Chinese tech companies out of the US market, is expected to affect Dell, Microsoft, and HP.
China’s decision is one of the most direct moves against American tech firms since the start of the trade war and is seen as part of a broader effort to reduce Beijing’s reliance on foreign tech. The policy’s impact on trade negotiations will depend on how Washington reacts to China’s decision.
“Discrimination against foreign tech has been a part of the policy framework in China for years now,” explains Nick Marro, global trade lead at the Economist Intelligence Unit.
“This might nevertheless complicate the discussions around Huawei, ZTE, and other companies in terms of their access to the US market. Much of the popular narrative has centered around the US unfairly banning these Chinese companies from its market; at least with this story, the administration can publicly play the blame game of, ‘well, China’s doing it too, and they’ve been doing it for a long time.’”
American companies like Facebook and Google have been banned from China for years.
Author’s Note: It is unclear how China will comply with the order given its dependence on US-made chips and the lack of a substitute for Windows. Perhaps Beijing has stolen enough tech from us to fly on its own.
Editor’s Note: Most of what China produces domestically contains stolen American intellectual property. The fact that they are going to refuse American products in this particular realm is a bold slap in the face to America.