China has reportedly removed Apple and a number of other U.S. tech firms from their approved state purchase lists, replacing them with local vendors.
Reuters reports that China’s Central Government Procurement Center’s (CGPC) struck products and services made by foreign companies from its approved state purchase lists, while at the same time approving thousands of products made domestically. The change is thought to be motivated by concerns over Western cybersurveillance operations.
The CGPC list, which dictates which companies central state ministries can purchase from, list a total of nearly 5,000 companies. The two year span of 2012 to 2014 saw the list increase by more than 2,000 mostly local vendors.
Apple, Cisco, Intel, McAfee and Citrix Systems were all blacklisted during that three year period. Cisco was hit the hardest, seeing its number of approved products drop from 60 in 2012 down to zero by late 2014.
Reuters sources report that any number of reasons could have come into play for the changes in the list, including fears that the U.S. National Security Administration has been using backdoors in foreign products to spy on users.
The sources also indicate the changes could simply be a move to ensure local companies pick up a bigger slice of the government tech market.
Apple agreed in January to submit its consumer products for security audits by China’s State Internet Information Office, in a move seen as an attempt to assure Chinese officials that reports of software backdoors were false.