China is reportedly preparing to ban its government offices and public institutions from using foreign-made hardware and software.
The program, to be rolled out over three years, was ordered earlier this year by officials high-up in the Chinese government, reported the Financial Times, citing Chinese tech sources.
News of such a ban threatens to worsen the U.S.-China trade wars at a crucial point, with investors anxiously waiting to hear whether the Trump administration will order implementation of the next round of tariffs on Chinese consumer goods as of next week.
U.S-China tensions over tariffs have been intensified by the U.S’s recent banning, on security grounds, of use of hardware from Chinese makers Huawei and ZTE in American infrastructure.
China’s planned hardware and software ban would have some impact on U.S. tech companies such as Microsoft, Dell and HP, but has been expected for some time. China has made no secret of its goal of becoming an independent global tech force by 2025 (an initiative dubbed “Made in China 2025.”)
"My feeling is that China's government entities are well on the way to being exclusively 'national' team anyway, and that most of the American stuff is in the private sector, unaffected by the ruling," Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst for Asia Pacific at Oanda, told CNN.
China’s plan calls for replacing 30% of hardware in 2020, 50% in 2021, and 20% in 2020. Tech experts have said that replacing the software poses an even more daunting challenge.