As the tensions between China and the US continue to escalate, China is reportedly planning to ban the use of US equipment- hardware and software from its government offices and public institutions. Undoubtedly, this move will dent sales by US tech companies.
According to a report by the financial times, Beijing ordered state officials to replace foreign PCs and software within three years. Brokerage firm China Securities estimate that over 30 million pieces of hardware would need to be replaced.
This news comes at a time when both warring factions are still dealing with tensions which have affected tech firms in both countries. Huawei was the pawn used to heighten the tension when the US first placed it in an entity list in May citing security concerns. The Trump led administration accused Huawei of a possible military espionage, citing that China could spy on them with Huawei’s equipment.
Huawei denied the allegation, maintaining a stance that it has no ties with Beijing or the military and that it works as an enterprise.
Both parties have been engaged in this trade war for almost two years, locking horns over what observers say is a battle of who will control the technologies in the near future.
The Trump led administration has dealt badly with big techs of China, starting with Huawei. Firstly, it cut off their access to vital American suppliers. The blacklist meant that any American firm who wants to have any form of business transactions with Huawei, would need the government’s approval. It went further to withdraw access to apps such as Facebook, Google’s Android, Twitter, and other vital American owned apps. This move was apparently to put China’s Huawei out of business.
China is pretty aggressive to become a global tech superpower and this has worried many American business leaders. This is perhaps why they continue to fuel the trade tensions with tariffs and blacklists. Beijing’s plan to invest billions of dollars into industries like robotics and electric cars with the aim of becoming a global leader in tech by 2025. Its clash with the United States may have triggered the country’s timetable to wean off foreign technology and become more self-reliant. It had started already with its OS, Harmony.
American companies like HP, Dell and Microsoft will be hurt by this move. Chinese hardware maker Lenovo, which is already a major supplier could benefit from this initiative.
However, some people complained about Chinese hardware not serving a purpose as much as their US alternatives. “My friend’s workplace has already switched to a Chinese-made database. The supplier said their product is a bit slower than Oracle’s, about 205 slower,” wrote a user.
Replacing Microsoft or Apple software at such a scale would be a big challenge given that China software industry is relatively underdeveloped.