Cisco and Apple are no longer approved suppliers to the Chinese government, as it seeks to restrict the reach of US IT companies in its domestic market.
While Cisco had 60 products approved for government use in 2014, they had all been removed from the list provided to state agencies by China’s Central Government Procurement Center (CGPC), according to Reuters.
Products from Apple, Citrix, and McAffee were also removed from the list. Meanwhile, overall the number of approved supplies has risen from just under 3,000 to almost 5,000.
In August 2014 the CGPC banned US-based Symantec and UK-based Kaspersky from government use.
According to The Washington Post the trade blockade could be a reaction to the PRISM surveillance programme being conducted by the US National Security Agency (NSA). Information about the programme, leaked as a series of documents stolen by former operative Ed Snowden, is a growing concern within China, which is reportedly being more vigilant about its need for “cyber-sovereignty.”
In January it was reported that Virtual Private Network (VPN) providers Astrill, StrongVPN and Golden Frog – which enabled Chinese citizens to freely access websites and apps blocked within the country – had faced severe disruptions as part of the Chinese government’s Internet censorship system, popularly known as the ‘Great Firewall’.
Previous government interference has led to complaints from Google, raids on Microsoft’s offices, investigation’s into the use of IBM servers by Chinese banks and restrictions placed on Dropbox and Gmail.
According to analyst firm IDC, the Chinese information and communications technology market is expected to be valued at $465 billion in 2015.
“There’s no doubt that the state-owned enterprise segment of the market has been favoring the local indigenous content,” one western IT company executive told Reuters.