Chinese President Xi Jinping said the country needs to accelerate its move to replace foreign IT technology with “secure” homegrown alternatives, as part of Beijing’s latest push to expand domestic industries at the expense of international ones.
Xinhua news agency quoted Xi as saying: “[China] must accelerate the advancement of domestic production, indigenous and controllable substitution plans, and the building of secure and controllable information technology systems.”
According to Reuters, foreign business chambers have urged Chinese officials to revise new regulations that mandate “secure and controllable” network technologies, calling them vague and discriminatory. But Chinese officials said overseas businesses have nothing to fear from the policies and that China is merely addressing the expanding security risks it faces.
China’s two main telecoms gear makers – Huawei and ZTE – face a de facto ban from selling their equipment to US telcos due to security concerns. In 2013 Washington accused the firms of having the ability to provide a “backdoor” for the Chinese government in their networking kit. The two companies have denied the allegations and insisted their equipment is secure. Many US government agencies are banned from buying gear from Huawei and ZTE.
The protectionist tiff started back in 2003 when Beijing threatened to ban Chinese government agencies from using Microsoft’s Windows due to concerns that it might contain backdoors.
China is also pushing its Internet Plus and Made in China 2025 strategies, which aim to make Chinese firms world technology leaders and call for progressive increases in domestic components in priority industries, Reuters reported.