China orders removal of foreign tech in state offices, Financial Times says

Daniel Fowler
December 9, 2019

Within three years, there won't be a Dell or a Microsoft to be found inside China's government offices. The trade war only accelerated this trend, with the US government banning Huawei and other Chinese companies from selling technology to USA federal agencies.

This is the first known public directive from Beijing setting specific targets limiting China's use of foreign technology, though it is part a wider move within China to increase its reliance on domestic technology.

Analysts at China Securities, a broker, estimate that 20m-30m pieces of hardware will need to be swapped out as a result of the Chinese directive, with large scale replacement beginning next year.

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When China replace Windows PCs the switchover to homegrown Chinese operating systems such as Kylin OS is not expected to be easy, but given the leverage using United States technology to run the Chinese government hands to the USA government, on this occasion the directive appears serious. They added the substitutions would take place at a pace of 30 per cent in 2020, 50 per cent in 2021, and 20 per cent the year after, earning the policy the nickname "3-5-2".

The Central Office's policy documents are confidential, but workers at two cybersecurity firms told the Financial Times that their government clients have described the scheme. Most government computers use Microsoft's Windows operating system, and the majority of domestically-developed software is written for it and is not compatible with Chinese Linux-based Kylin OS.

The move is being seen as a response to recent measures by the U.S. administartion to minimise use of Chinese technology in the States and its allies. However, that could also change in the long term, especially if China finds new methods to encourage Chinese enterprises to invest in local tech too. However, it still uses US-made chips manufactured by Intel and hard drives produced by Samsung, which technically violate the requirements of the reportedly implemented policy.

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