China wants to eliminate the use of foreign technology in key sectors by 2020, Bloomberg reported Wednesday, citing people familiar with the campaign. The goal is to have domestic Chinese technologies in place in banks, state-owned enterprises, key government agencies, and the military.
The Bloomberg report merely solidifies other signs that China was looking to replace foreign technology firms with domestic ones, both for security reasons and as part of China’s push to ramp up domestic innovation in the high-tech sector. Back in February ,at the first meeting of the Internet security and informatization group, President Xi Jinping called developing domestic technologies and ensuring cyber-security “two wings of a bird” – equally crucial parts of China’s cyber strategy moving forward. To be a cyber power, Xi said, China must develop its own technology.
This became an urgent goal for China after revelations from Edward Snowden about U.S. cyber espionage on Chinese institutions. The Snowden leaks crystallized long-standing Chinese uneasiness about over-reliance on foreign firms like Microsoft and IBM for its technology needs. There’s also a growing sense of confidence in China that domestic alternatives are now realistic in a way they weren’t in the past. China released its first home-grown operating system this year with much fanfare. Bloomberg’s report notes that the recent drive to eliminate foreign tech by 2020 ramped up after a successful test where Microsoft’s Windows was replaced with China’s own NeoKylin OS and foreign servers were replaced with Chinese-made ones.
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