The Chinese Communist Party Central Office has ordered all government services to replace all computers running non-Chinese software and operating systems within the next 3 years, reports AFR.
The move to force China to replace Windows PCs comes in response to increasing pressure by USA on Chinese technology companies like Huawei which restricted their access to Western software, operating systems and markets, and pressure by the US government on US and European networking companies not to use Chinese technology, such as Huawei’s 5G base stations.
The Chinese government services have been ordered to replace 30 per cent of their devices in 2020, 50 per cent in 2021, and 20 per cent in 2022. Analysts company China Securities, estimate around 20 million to 30 million pieces of hardware will need to be replaced to ensure only “secure and controllable” technology is used as directed by China’s 2017 Cyber Security Law.
For now private Chinese companies, which form the bulk of Microsoft’s Chinese revenue, are not affected, but this could easily change.
When China replace Windows PCs the switchover to homegrown Chinese operating systems such as Kylin OS is not expected to be easy, but given the leverage using US technology to run the Chinese government hands to the US government, on this occasion the directive appears serious.
China has previously touted Linux as a replacement, and Microsoft even offered “Chinese Government Edition” of Windows 10 in 2017, but this will no longer be considered sufficient. Unlike previous pushes for self-sufficiency, recent US sanctions have added urgency to the project, said analyst Paul Triolo of consultancy Eurasia Group.
The tit for tat between USA and China risks splintering the technology world and significantly reducing the economies of scale which has kept electronics cheap these last few decades.