Apple, along with a number of other leading technology companies, has been removed from the list of brands approved for Chinese government purchases. It’s thought the move is a response to reports of widespread Western cybersurveillance.
“Others put the shift down to a protectionist impulse to shield China’s domestic technology industry from competition,” Reuters reports, after thousands of other locally-made products were added to the list.
It seems Cisco Systems has been hit hardest by China’s clampdown. Back in 2012, it had 60 products approved by the Central Government Procurement Center (CGPC), but as of late 2014, it had none, new data shows.
Alongside Apple, Intel, McAfee, and Citrix Systems have also been dropped from the list, while a number of other foreign brands fell by a third, Reuters reports. Officials say there are many reasons why local manufacturers are preferred, including more product guarantees.
Some believe China wants to nurture its domestic technology industry and support its expansion overseas, and pushing authorities and companies towards homegrown products would certainly help that mission.
However, it’s thought the primary concern is security. Reuters notes how “China’s change of tack coincided with leaks by former U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden in mid-2013 that exposed several global surveillance program.”
Experts say that the Snowden incident has become a real concern for foreign leaders, and had a detrimental impact on U.S.-China ties, with both accusing one another of foul play.