China to completely replace foreign software & hardware with home technology

Cybersecurity specialists say Chinese government has decided that all public institutions should get rid of all foreign software and hardware equipment they currently use, replacing these developments with Chinese technology within a term of no more than three years, which would severely affect companies such as Dell, HP or Microsoft.

This decision is a clear retaliation against Donald Trump’s administration and his decision to limit the use of Chinese technology in the United States and its allied countries. China’s government could be about to announce additional measures.

China aims to increase its public institutions’ reliance on domestic technology, as well as increase uncertainty over the possible cut-off of US-China supply chains.

As anticipated by the cybersecurity community, a few months ago Donald Trump’s administration banned US companies from doing business with Chinese technology company Huawei, arguing national security reasons. Washington has also sought to persuade some European governments to implement similar measures; the intention of the US is to leave out Chinese companies of any 5G network deployment project.

As for the China government’s plans, it is estimated that around 30 million hardware equipment will need to be replaced, a process that is supposed to begin in January 2020. These substitutions will be carried out gradually, starting with 20% of all teams over the next year.  

The order appears to come directly from the offices of the Communist Party of China. Any information from the party’s central office is confidential, however, it is mentioned that cybersecurity employees who prefer to remain anonymous have leaked some details about this project.

In addition to countering US measures, this decision would also help to implement China’s Cybersecurity Act, passed in 2017.

Although the transition to domestic hardware use even began months ago in some of the institutions of the Chinese government, specialists from the International Institute of Cyber Security (IICS) believe that the most complex task will be to replace all foreign software solutions. The transition includes Microsoft products, which currently sells a special version of the Windows 10 system for Chinese government organizations.

Another drawback facing this project is the limited ecosystem of developers producing software compatible with Chinese operating systems such as Kylin OS. As if that were not enough, China’s government does not yet clearly define what it refers to by “domestic technology”, because in the end this could be applied very ambiguously. An example of this is Lenovo, as despite being a company owned by Chinese entrepreneurs, its computer equipment employs processors developed by Intel, in addition to having Samsung hard drives.