China targets U.S. products, calls them 'terrible security threat'

Cisco, Google, and Apple are among the companies singled out in state-run media reports that suggest China reduce its reliance on their products. Cisco's routers in particular could take a hit.

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger

China's government-friendly media outlets have taken aim at Cisco and other U.S. companies after NSA leaker Edward Snowden revealed sensitive information on alleged spying on Chinese networks.

According to IB Times, which earlier reported on the claims, Chinese daily Sina cited eight companies, including Cisco, IBM, Google, and Apple, as the firms that are used by the U.S. government to spy on China. Another news outlet, Global Times, said that the country should reduce its reliance on American companies, adding that they pose a "terrible security threat."

The U.S. companies, of course, have never said that they're working with the U.S. government to spy on foreign governments. And China's news outlets -- some of which reported that Snowden specifically mentioned Cisco in the spying, despite claims to the contrary -- have long been mouthpieces for the rhetoric the government espouses.

Still, that rhetoric could be especially bad news for Cisco. The Global Times said that Huawei, Cisco's competitor in the country, could benefit greatly as the Chinese government presses companies to switch from the U.S.-based company's equipment to those produced by China's own firms.

For its part, Cisco has denied claims that it worked with the NSA to spy on Chinese networks. The company has said that the networking equipment in place in China is the same that's installed anywhere else in the world.