China recently blocked Apple and other tech companies from approved government purchase list. Other companies on the blocked list include Cisco, Intel, Citrix Systems, and McAfee.
Reuters was the first to report this. China’s Central Government Procurement Center put the kibosh on services and product made from foreign companies. It also approved thousands of domestic-made products. The reason for the change is most likely concerns about strong cyber-surveillance measures from the West. CGPC’s unnamed official claimed there could be a number of reasons Apple and the other companies were removed from the list.
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China expands list of approved products
The CGPC added over 2,000 more products to the list of approved products from 2012 to 2014, which brought the total close to 5,000. Much of this increase is attributed to the large influx of local companies.
China has serious concerns about the United States’ surveillance activities, which former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealed. There were also reports of Apple’s involvement with the NSA, which prompted China Central Television to report iOS location tracking as a real concern. As a response to their concerns, Apple moved China’s iCloud servers to a location inside the country.
China’s concern about government surveillance
China Institute of WTO Studies associate director Tu Xinquan stated that Snowden’s revelation is a huge concern for the country’s leaders. He explained that his country’s concerns are legitimate as they believe the U.S. government shared involvement in the incident. Cyber-security has always been a hot button issue for both the United States and China as both nations tend to blame each other for such abuses.
In January, tech groups from the United States wrote to Chinese government officials about their concerns about cyber-security regulations. Such regulations forced tech companies to work with Chinese banks and adopt special Chinese algorithms.
The official list does not offer details on product quantity. It also does not bind local government, state government or military. The Ministry of Finance declined to release a statement.