China to exclude Apple products over security concerns
Updated: 2014-08-07 07:29
Apple Inc opens its first store in Wuxi, Jiangsu province, on Saturday. Meanwhile, the company has become the latest United States technology company to be excluded from Chinese government purchases amid escalating tensions between the countries over claims of hacking and cyberspying. [Photo/China Daily]
Ten Apple products—including the iPad, iPad Mini, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro—were omitted from a final government procurement list distributed in July, according to officials who read it and asked not to be identified. The models were on a June version of the list drafted by the National Development and Reform Commission and Ministry of Finance, the officials said.
Apple is the latest United States technology company to be excluded from Chinese government purchases amid escalating tensions between the countries over claims of hacking and cyberspying.
China's procurement agency has told departments to stop buying antivirus software from Symantec Corp and Kaspersky Lab, while Microsoft Corp was shut out of a government purchase of energy-efficient computers.
Apple depended on greater China for about 16 percent of its $37.4 billion in revenue last quarter, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Sales of iPads in the world's biggest market increased by 51 percent and Mac sales by 39 percent, Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said in July.
The heightened scrutiny of foreign companies follows Edward Snowden's revelations last year of a National Security Agency spying program and the May announcement of indictments by US prosecutors of five Chinese military officers for allegedly stealing corporate secrets.
China said in May it would vet technology companies operating in the country for potential national-security breaches after the government threatened retaliation for the US indictment of the Chinese officers.
Kristin Huguet, a spokeswoman for Apple, declined to comment. The Ministry of Finance and NDRC did not immediately respond to faxes seeking comment about the procurement list, which does not include smartphones.
The register applies to all central government departments and all local governments, according to the officials. The next review of the list will be in January.
Microsoft said in May it was "surprised" to learn that its Windows 8 operating system was excluded from government purchases. The official Xinhua News Agency called it "a move to ensure computer security".
China regulators opened an anti-monopoly investigation into Microsoft in July, seizing computers and documents from offices in four cities.
Microsoft, Google Inc, Facebook Inc and Apple have been criticized by State media for allegedly cooperating with a US spying program, and Qualcomm Inc in November disclosed an investigation related to the anti-monopoly law.
Last month, State-run China Central Television reported that features of Apple's iPhone software may result in the leak of State secrets. Apple rejected those claims.
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