China's government continues to turn away foreign tech companies in favor of buying from firms right at home. According to Reuters, the government has entirely removed Cisco, Citrix, and McAfee products from its list of approved tech purchases. That follows an earlier Bloomberg report noting that Apple had been removed from the list, as had antivirus products from Symantec and Kaspersky Lab. Windows 8 was also reported to be banned at some point last year.
Approved Chinese products are growing in number
The number of approved foreign tech products has dropped by a third over the past two years, according to Reuters. Many of the cuts have focused on security products, of which more than half were removed. At the same time, Reuters reports that China's list of approved products has actually grown quite a bit. There are now nearly 5,000 products approved for government purchase — reportedly up by over 2,000 — but that jump is said to be credited almost entirely to Chinese companies.
China's interest in moving toward products made within the country appears to be twofold: it removes security concerns around foreign products and bolsters its own tech industry. It's not clear which is more important to the country. The sources Reuters spoke with seem to believe that security concerns may just be a cover story, but it's not an entirely unreasonable one, particularly in light of the ongoing revelations about how far US spy agencies are willing to go for information. The US, too, has shown an unwillingness to trust foreign tech, with much being made of its frequent restrictions on the large Chinese telecom firm Huawei.
The list of products approved for government purchase is made by the Central Government Procurement Center. While Reuters reports that it does not restrict local government, state-owned businesses, or the military, the list still prevents foreign companies from offering services to a large client. That's particularly important if it's because of the United States' actions, too. Having the NSA hack into major tech companies doesn't just make them look bad — it may also be losing them big business.