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China ups security checks on tech suppliers as US tensions mount

The country won't say specifically that it's targeting US suppliers, but the timing is awfully coincidental.


Beijing is boosting its scrutiny of technology equipment suppliers to assess whether their products provide enough security, a new report out of the country says.

China has instituted a policy to investigate all IT products and services to ensure that they conform with the country's security standards, the government-controlled Xinhua News Agency reported on Thursday. The move is designed to protect "national security" and "economic development."

Xinhua didn't clarify which companies would be investigated, but made clear that any products that fail to meet security requirements will be banned and the companies offering those devices and services will be banned from continuing to do business in the country.

The timing of the announcement is more than a little coincidental. Earlier this week, the US announced that it had charged several Chinese government officials with illegally hacking into US company servers to allegedly steal information. The Chinese government quickly rebutted the charges, arguing that the US has "double standards" and could not be trusted. The Chinese government also charged the US with spying on its assets.

The war of words between the two countries is nothing new. For years, the US has been charging China with hacking and cyberespionage, calling it the biggest cyber threat to the United States. China has echoed that sentiment, charging the US with tapping into its own networks and putting its national security at risk.

This latest move to inspect and possibly ban certain products could be a drag on US companies. Although Xinhua didn't say which products would be analyzed, it appears clear from the tensions rising between the countries that US-based firms providing devices to China will be closely monitored.

Microsoft has already fallen victim to China's concerns over security after earlier this week finding out that Windows 8 would be banned from the government's computers. Microsoft has since said that it's pushing Windows 7 in China as it tries to work with the government to see the security benefits of its latest operating system.

(Via Reuters)