The Chinese government has removed several prominent US tech companies, including Apple, from its list of approved vendors for state purchases, Reuters reported today. The change is hardly unexpected following the government’s response to accusations several years ago that the US National Security Administration had been using backdoors in Apple products to spy on users.
Some sources cited by Reuters say that the change may not necessarily have anything to do with security, and may instead be designed to help local companies pick up a larger portion of the government tech market. By cutting off competition from big foreign competitors, the government effectively makes local choices the only choices for many products. The security concerns, among others, could in fact be a smokescreen to cover the Chinese government’s true intentions.
Other companies dropped from the list include Intel, McAfee, and Cisco Systems. In the process of updating the list, China has allowed state purchases from many local companies, with the total number of approved vendors rising to nearly 5,000. Overseas tech companies on the list, however, were cut by a third, lending credence to the idea that this was a move to help bolster local business.