China has ordered all of its government agencies and state-owned companies to withdraw foreign-branded PCs and replace them with domestically-made alternatives within two years. The decision marks one of Beijing’s most aggressive efforts to date to eradicate foreign technology from its most sensitive organs.
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The plan not only affects physical devices but also the software they use, as various sources have explained to the Bloomberg agency. The computers of the Chinese public administration will not be able to use operating systems or other programs that have not been developed in the country. Forecasts are that China will renew some 50 million computers in the next two years.
Beijing has been promoting a policy of reducing foreign technological dependence for more than a decade. This has intensified since its geopolitical confrontation with the US, home to some of the largest manufacturers of consumer technology, and has extended to key components such as microchips and semiconductors. The US sanctions on Huawei were a severe blow to the multinational and a reaffirmation of the need for a policy of technological independence for Beijing.
During these years, American multinationals have tried to get around these measures by allying with Chinese national companies to create independent brands based in the country. It is unclear whether these third-party companies will be affected by the Chinese government’s decision to remove foreign technology from its administration. Companies like Dell or HP fell on the stock market after the announcement, while the Chinese Lenono recovered its losses in recent days.
Beijing’s policy of technological sovereignty has empowered its companies, such as Lenovo itself, today one of the largest manufacturers in the world, or Huawei. Chinese software developers such as Kingsoft and Standard Software have made rapid inroads in the field of office automation tools against companies such as Microsoft and Adobe.
The forecast is that China will especially promote Linux-based operating systems to replace Microsoft’s Windows, something in which Shanghai-based Standard Software has specialized. Other sources tell the Bloomberg agency that Beijing will be more lax with technological components that are more difficult to replace, such as microprocessors.