Apple Is Latest US Firm To Be Excluded From Chinese Government Procurements

The Chinese government continues its apparent purge of foreign technology, after adding Apple to the growing list of companies that are exluded from its procurement lists.

As a result, the government officials will be unable to buy Apple iPads and MacBook laptops for government projects that utilise public money.

Security Concerns

And it seems that the usual reason has been given for the exclusion, with governmental officials close to the matter telling Bloomberg the ban was implemented due to security concerns. The agency reported that ten Apple products, including the iPad Mini, Macbook Pro and Macbook Air, have been added to the list distributed in July.

“When the government stops the procurement of products, it sends a signal to corporates and semi-government bodies,” Mark Po, an analyst with UOB Kay Hian Ltd was quoted as saying. “The Chinese government wants to make sure that overseas companies shouldn’t have too much influence in China.”

In its latest financial earnings, Apple revealed that its revenue from China rose 28 percent to nearly $6bn (£3.5bn). Indeed, CEO Tim Cook reportedly told analysts that Apple’s Chinese performance was “honestly surprising”.

Last month, Apple had to vigorously deny claims by a Chinese television broadcaster that its smartphones were a national security risk.

Chinese Chill

The Apple exclusion is the latest development as China continues its pursuit of foreign tech firms operating in the country. Earlier this week anti-trust regulators launched fresh raids on local Microsoft ofiices, previously accusing the comopany of anti-competitive behaviour. And the China Central Government Procurement Centre has already excluded Windows 8 from government purchases, in order to “ensure computer security”.

Qualcomm is also being investigated for possible “anti-trust” issues.

But that is not all. American anti-virus vendor Symantec and its Russian competitor Kaspersky have also been excluded from a government list of approved anti-virus vendors. Other western firms such as IBM and Cisco are also finding life difficult, with Chinese businesses and banks replacing Western computers or software in favour of local offerings. And China said recently that it wants to vet Western technology companies operating in the country.

The relationship between China and the West has turned remarkably toxic in recent months. Matters were not helped by ongoing US allegations of cyber espionage by Chinese individuals and companies.

Chinese network equipment manufacturer Huawei meanwhile is effectively locked out of the American public sector market because the US government fears the company is spying for China. Five members of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) were charged in May for alleged cyber-espionage.

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Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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