China 'drops US tech giants' from approved list

Cisco stand at trade show Image copyright Reuters
Image caption About 60 Cisco products have been removed from the state-approved list of hardware

Cisco, Apple, McAfee and Citrix have all been dropped from China's official list of approved products, according to the Reuters news agency.

The change means the companies' products are no longer on a list used by government departments to equip offices and data centres.

Instead of the US tech firms, the approved list now recommends home-grown alternatives including Huawei and ZTE.

The move is seen as a way for China to boost its native tech industry.

Router maker Cisco is one of the biggest losers in the purge. In 2012, the hi-tech firm had about 60 separate products on the Central Government Procurement Centre's list. Now, it has none.

Analysis by Reuters suggests that the number of foreign firms on the list as a whole has dropped by about a third. Companies making security-related hardware and software seem to have fared the worst.

Some speculated that one reason for the cull was ongoing allegations from National Security Agency whistle-blower Edward Snowden about the extent of surveillance that US had been carrying out.

"The Snowden incident, it's become a real concern, especially for top leaders," Tu Xinquan, associate director of the China Institute of World Trade Organization Studies, at Beijing's University of International Business and Economics, told Reuters.

In addition, by favouring indigenous firms, China could be seeking to bolster the prospects of its tech sector, he said.

The change comes soon after China introduced rules governing tech firms selling products to banks, which, in some cases, required them to hand over the source code for their products.

US industry and technology groups have lodged official objections to the rules and have sought clarification of how they will work.

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